by Nick Jowett. Inspired by Mark 7.24-30.
Tune 88.88.88 metre e.g. Abingdon or Melita.
You told us, Lord, in ancient law,
to share with everyone in need,
to welcome strangers at our door,
and help them out in word and deed.
Can selfish humans be so kind?
What power can help them change their mind?
We see the migrants’ deadly plight,
yet welcome few into our land.
Do we deny their human right,
dismiss their sorrows out of hand?
Why are we humans so unkind?
What makes it hard to change our mind?
A woman of Phoenician stock
whose daughter had a mind possessed
once turned to Christ in need and shock
and was sent packing as a pest.
Why were Christ's followers so unkind?
What would have made them change their mind?
And Jesus said that Jewish 'bread'
should not be given to Gentile 'dogs'.
What was his tone when this was said?
Was humour in his dialogue?
How could our Lord have been unkind?
Surely he knew he'd change his mind.
The woman spoke, with sudden wit,
of crumbs that fall, from table piled,
for 'dogs' whose faces do not fit.
Now Jesus smiled and healed her child.
O God, you cannot be unkind:
as human once, you changed your mind.
As human too, but not divine,
we're tied to culture, language, place.
Lord, give us Jesus' Spirit fine
to welcome strangers in our space.
Stop us when we would be unkind;
Help us each time to change our mind.