The Canaanite Woman Took a Knee (Matt. 15:21-28)

The Canaanite Woman Took a Knee (Matt. 15:21-28) August 12, 2020

Oh, yes, she did.  The Canaanite Woman took a knee.

[Watch the video here:]

“Taking a knee.” Photo by Elvert Barnes. Some rights reserved.

She interrupted Jesus with her pain.

She annoyed the disciples with her incessant wails.


She from an off-color place, with an off-color daughter.

She dared ask for healing



from the demon.


just wanted to be left alone.

“Get that sonofabitch off the field!”

He called Colin Kaepernick a dog.

The son of a dog, and thus a dog himself.

Colin interrupted the game with his pain.

He annoyed the whites with his incessant kneeling.


He from an off-color people, with an off-color demand.

He dared asked for healing



from the demonic system.



They ignored her.

Not worth a glance,

much less attention.

Your suffering is not our suffering.


You are not us.

You are in the way.

You are a bitching bitch.

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”


These people.

These are animals.


She came.

She knelt.

She took a knee.

The Canaanite woman took a knee.


He came.

He knelt.

He took a knee.

Lord, have mercy!

Kyrie eleison!

On me.

On my daughter.

On my people.

Your people.

Are dogs.

“It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”



Yes, Lord. Yes, Kyrie.


Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash.

“Yes, Lord, yet

even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Even the dogs.

Even my people.

Even my daughter.

Even our sons.

Even me.

There is enough for all of us.

Enough bread.

Enough healing.

Enough justice.


I like to think

just then

Jesus took a knee.

I like to see


taking a knee

to look her in the eye

instead of kyrie-ing over her.

I like to imagine

his knee

the knee of the Kyrie

bending into the dust

into the astroturf

the joint joining

Woman –

Man –

– Not dog –

But dogged.

“Great is your faith.”

Faith that the crooked knee of the white kyrie-demonic bent

into the black neck

pressed into Minneapolis pavement

will release.

Faith that the white demonic-kyrie knees bent

in a firing stance

pressing a black body into a bed with bullets

will straighten.

Faith that bent knees will rise


and stand



But maybe


as her knees clicked

cartilage against bone

straightening as she rose

as she stood

on her faith


maybe Kyrie stayed kneeling

as a Canaanite Daughter

– Not dog –

sprang up

out of the bed

as a Canaanite Son

– Not dog –

sprang up

off the pavement

off the astroturf



from the demon

the demonic.

Let it be done.

As you

Canaanite woman

Mother of




Let it be done

as you will it to be.


Read also:

Calling People Dogs: Juxtaposing Jesus and Trump

6 Bible Texts for a Sermon on Racism & Why Your Church Needs to Hear It

Mr. Trump, Here’s What’s Wrong with Calling People ‘Animals’

Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky and ordained in the ELCA. Dr. Schade does not speak for LTS or the ELCA; her opinions are her own. She is the author of Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015). She is also the co-editor of Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).




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