This morning the World YWCA and YMCA led the service in the chapel as they began their international week of prayer.
The service was drawn up by Terry MacArthur and Luzmarina Campos Garcia, you can find it at the end of the Week of Prayer booklets after the daily meditations. The service was a simple liturgical reflection on women building a safer world and used the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman to focus our thoughts and prayers. She who says to Jesus but even the crumbs you might give to the puppies would be ok for me ... was it Chutzpah or humility?
Ana Vilanueva from the World YWCA danced both for mercy and with joy as we listened to music and readings from the gospel story. We received small pieces of brioche - as it came into my hand I realised I had not eaten breakfast - and we reflected on our lives in fragments, in crumbs - the bits and pieces nature of things. Later as we ate the bread we recognised the responsibility to transform even the tiniest crumb into hope.
And as I thought about the fragments and pieces of my life I realised that reconciled diversity - something we talk about so much in the ecumenical movement - it begins with me. With my ability to live with the inconsistent and jarring and lovely and loving and petty and good and laughing and weeping and clever and stupid and preachy and gentle parts of myself - and with all those pieces others are busy reconciling in their own lives...
Here is part of the text on crumbs from this morning:
Crumbs. We have so many in our lives. A crumb is a fragment of bread. A dispensable small thing that we easily throw to the dogs or in the garbage.
Have you ever felt like a crumb? Have your people felt like a crumb?
Despised, betrayed, dispensable? Have you ever treated somebody else like a crumb?
(The woman holding the crumb, takes it with the other hand and eats it) But we are not crumbs. We fight, shout, pray, get educated, hold together in the face of pain and suffering.
And we want more than crumbs. At this moment, while the crumbs come to you, you are invited to name the ways you have been overcoming fear, despair, exclusion, oppression, pain. Hold the crumb in your hands.
(after people get the crumbs)
Crumb, a dispensable small thing that in the mouth of a wise woman became an irrefutable argument changing Jesus’ way of thinking and acting. We continue being called to transform crumbs into bread, pain into company, exclusion into inclusion, oppression into liberation, despair into hope.
We are invited to eat the crumb we have in our hands as an affirmation of faith that our crumbs are being transformed into bread.