Pentecost +11, Year A

Musical Reflection
Dog Got a Bone by The Beta Band



Unclean God,
braving defilement,
inviting offence;
you share your bread
with vermin and outsiders;
give us the faith
that comes from the heart
and walks beyond
our boundary posts
that we might be surprised
by outrageous grace;
through Jesus Christ,
child of David and light of the world.
First Reading

And I Will Consider the Yellow Dog
by Fran Lock

And Smart saw God concentric in his cat.
Smart’s cat, artificing faith from cyclone
volition. There is no God in you, yellow
dog. Your breath is our daily quicksand;
you juggle your legs into an avid heap.
You are bent on death. There is no God
in you. You are imperfect and critterly.
I will consider you, for all of that. Today,
as you joust farewell to the park; the pack
in their garrison palsy, tails agog, and you,
cocking your head to cup Madam’s strewn
bark, your nose like an antique brooch
in the sun. I will consider you, yellow dog,
as you twist in a rapt mechanical dream.
I will consider your coat, the color
of fenced gold; how you are your own
secular halo. I will consider your skull,
the narrow skull of a young gazelle
whose victory is leaping. And I will
consider your eyes, their hazel light
a gulp of fire, those firewater eyes,
holding now a numb depth down,
and milkier flickering monthly. I will
consider your youth, when we didn’t
know if you would saunter or quake;
when we didn’t know if you
would prove savvy or giddy or both.
It was both. Our frank amaze at your hardy
smarts! Our silly delight at each degree
of more-than-human knowing. I will
consider you, yellow dog, your pale
moods and your gazing; your fidgets
and your snoozes. There is no God in you,
the deep-time of a dog year is enough.
And lately you are wiser than all zero.
Dear dog, creaking like a haunted house,
I will consider you, from bucking young
’un to patient as settling porter; how you
held the pack when Fat Man was small
and a zoomy nuisance of wriggling. I will
consider your narrow self, aslant against
my chest in grief, in grieving, overwhelmed,
when you were the busy broom that swept
the pieces of me together. Yes, I will
consider the yellow dog, his bestowing
snout in the chill a.m.; his royal cheek
and his dances. A yellow dog comes only
once and is hisself: brilliant, final, and entire.

Second Reading
Death of a Dog

by Ted Kooser

The next morning I felt that our house
had been lifted away from its foundation
during the night, and was now adrift,
though so heavy it drew a foot or more
of whatever was buoying it up, not water
but something cold and thin and clear,
silence riffling its surface as the house
began to turn on a strengthening current,
leaving, taking my wife and me with it,
and though it had never occurred
to me until that moment, for fifteen years
our dog had held down what we had
by pressing his belly to the floors,
his front paws, too, and with him gone
the house had begun to float out onto
emptiness, no solid ground in sight.
Gospel Reading
Matthew 15:10-28

Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”

Jesus replied, “Every plant that heavenly God didn’t plant will be pulled up. Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch.”

Then Peter spoke up, “Explain this riddle to us.”

Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual sins, thefts, false testimonies, and insults. These contaminate a person in God’s sight. But eating without washing hands doesn’t contaminate in God’s sight.”

From there, Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Child of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” But he didn’t respond to her at all.

His disciples came and urged him, “Send her away; she keeps shouting out after us.”

Jesus replied, “I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.”

But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.”

He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.”

She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.”

Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed.

Musical Reflection
Master and Dog by Quasi

from Buddhist Scripture: Sutta-Nipata

May creatures all abound in prosperity and peace.
May all be blessed with peace always;
All creatures weak or strong,
All creatures great and small,
Creatures unseen or seen,
Dwelling afar or near,
Born or awaiting birth,
May all be blessed with peace.

The Lord’s Prayer

Loving God, within and around us, we revere you.
We seek to live life as you would want us to do;
with love and respect for all people
and all things in the universe.
May we find each day sufficient for our needs,
and find forgiveness when we do wrong,
just as we forgive those who do wrong to us.
In times of trouble, may we centre our lives in you.
For your being is love,
which comes with strength and with beauty,
throughout eternity. Amen.


Musical Reflection
Keep the Dog Quiet by Owen Pallett

Saranam (Refuge) Blessing

Great Creator,
Receive our thanks for night and day,
for food and shelter, rest and play.
Be here our guest and with us stay,
saranam, saranam, saranam.

And may the blessing of God – the Speaker, the Word, and the Speaking,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.



Artwork by John Brosio

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Dog Got a Bone by The Beta Band

Poem And I Will Consider the Yellow Dog by Fran Lock

Poem Death of a Dog by Ted Kooser

Musical Reflection Master and Dog by Quasi

Prayer from Buddhist Scripture: Sutta-Nipata

Lord’s Prayer by Margaret Rolfe

Musical Reflection Keep the Dog Quiet by Owen Pallett

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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