Already turned back from two trails by deep water, I took one covered by only a few inches of slow overflow from the nearby creek. Now pedaling inconsistently at a snail’s pace, I looked down to see a small frog cross just in front of me, swimming unevenly, progressing unsteadily against the current. In that moment, the key thought from a decade old article crossed my mind: “Frogs Surprisingly Like Humans, Genetically Speaking.”
When a local woman crosses their path, begging them to help her oppressed daughter, the disciples only beg Jesus to send her away. They deem her so inferior that some of them label her one of the people whose entire existence Israel had extinguished centuries earlier: “Canaanite.” Jesus does not begin by telling them how worthy she is, but by joining their assumption: “I cannot give the children’s bread to dogs.” But her humble request for the table’s crumbs becomes the disciples’ bread. In Jesus’ words: “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
We can only deem others unworthy if we have identified in them what we think untrue of us. Whether because of their birth, allegiance, or sin, we reckon their uneven struggle against the current different from ours. And so our response is different from what we would expect were we the same; which, we declare, we are not.
But we are: in creation, we bear his image; in redemption, he bears ours. We are all oxen who abandoned our owner, sheep who strayed, donkeys who forgot where we were fed. But we are also now his, found, and full. “Christians Surprisingly Like Humans, Factually Speaking.”
This week, may every person struggling across our path find the mercy and truth, justice and peace we found in him.