Narrative Sermon – An account of Syra, a Canaanite woman –
Assignment for Unit 4 of Faith & Worship – circa 2012
Hi, my name is Syra, I am here today to tell you of a great and wonderful thing that happened to me last week, my life has changed so much and I want to rush in and tell you the good news but reluctantly I will tell you a bit about myself first and then the brilliant encounter I had. I live in Tyre, well not in Tyre itself, that’s an island and I get seasick and even though there is a causeway I couldn’t be that close to the sea, my sister, Ganni lives there with her husband Hisham. No, I live in the town of Ushu, on the outskirts in a one room house. Even though it is small it is difficult to keep warm in the night because of the wind coming off the coast. I have blocked my window but it still howls in. My daughter and I sleep together by the fire to keep warm. Up until last week she would have these horrific night tremors, the images she described, of fire breathing spiky eagles and lions with no skin would make my skin crawl. Ugh just thinking of it now Ugh. During the day she was changeable too, it was like there were four or five different people in her. I was frightened I can tell you. But I was more frightened of my neighbours, of what they would do to her if they knew she was so strange. There is a guy living in some ruins who howls at the moon and they beat him and throw stones at him. I kept her hidden, we only went into the market at the very earliest time and hurried back home again with provisions. We would go to the beach and use string lines to catch fish, surprisingly when we did this she was at her calmest, almost as if the waves lulled her to a quieter person.
Two weeks ago, my sister came across from Tyre to tell me of a man. My sister, worked the fish market with her husband, and they would often tell of the tales from fishermen, soldiers and even pirates sometimes. Anyway Ganni is the only other person in the world that know about my daughter, Felis, and so that is why she rushed to tell me. Literally she knocked me off my feet coming in the door so she had to kneel beside me.
“There is a man in that Galilee place, over the border, a Jew, he is doing miraculous things, healing the blind, those with leprosy” and here she paused for what felt like an hour “he heals the demon possessed.” I felt winded, would it be possible for this man to heal my angel.
“Tell me more,” I said,
“Some say he is a prophet or something, he is a Jewish teacher.” she replied.
Well he won’t come here I was about to say when instead out of the blue I said “Ganni stay here look after Felis I must find this man.” I still don’t know what made me say it, Jewish men spit on us from Canaan.
So I travelled alone, with only a few provisions, day after day I walked towards Galilee, after the border I had to contend with openly offensive men but I continued on my quest. As evening drew in I would listen at the inns to hear of any tales of this man they called The Rabbi and Jesus. On the fifth night I heard he was just in the next town so I walked until it was too dark and then at first light made my way to the town, it was busy, full of bustling people so I made my way to the well, I figured everyone needs to drink.
I had just settled into a shadow when I saw about a dozen men crowding round one other. I looked up and caught his eye. Oh my, you have no idea how magnetic those eyes were, it was like he could see right into the very heart of me. I knew of the Jewish God, and if this was not him My name isn’t Syra. I prayed silently and quickly, “please Lord hear me and help me” and then I got up and chased after the group of men.
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” I cried, they all ignored me and carried on walking. He was talking in a low voice, probably teaching. I was sure he heard so I shouted again, still he walked on, again and again I called out to him. I heard some of the men say
“Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” So I moved closer until I was in front of him. I was daring him not to ignore me again, surely he would listen to me now.
He said “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
I couldn’t believe it I had walked for five days, endured the spitting and chasing of the Jews and now he won’t even look at me and won’t help me. My mother once said I was Persistence personified so I tried again, kneeling before him, I gazed up into those pools of eyes and cried out “Lord, help me!”
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” He replied
A dog, a dog, he called me a dog, he is as bad as any Jew, why did I expect him to be different, oh he was making me so angry, hold yourself together, I told myself and suddenly from nowhere I uttered “Yes it is, Lord,” I said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
That’s it now, for sure, he is going to have me run out of town but looking up into his face, he began to smile and the blessed man said “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
Oh happy day, although I had five days of walking back to my house, to my beautiful daughter, this man had healed her I just knew it. I felt lighter walking as though someone was helping me home and I made it in four days. Ganni and Felis rushed out to me and both said at once no more seizures, no more demons. My precious angel was restored to me thanks be to God and our family became believers of the man Jesus, but I know he is God. We will follow him always. Ganni came to visit again yesterday, she told me he had fed at least 4000 people, thought to be non Jews, with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fishes, the best bit, his students, disciples I think they are called, picked up the crumbs and filled seven baskets. That’s enough crumbs for all the dogs in the world. Well that’s my story, if you meet him, say hello to him from Syra. Oh and don’t forget to tell all your friends my story, spread the “good News” Bye.