The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews
28 October 2018
Proper 25 / Pentecost +23
“Go; your faith has made you well.
Go; your faith has made you well.”
Our story from Mark today
is someone who knows they’re in need
and who won’t give up.
That sounds a little familiar.
As Jesus, the disciples, and a large crowd
are leaving Jericho --
where nothing of note to Mark happened --
a blind man cries out to Jesus.
This blind beggar, Bartimeus
son of Timeus, bar timeus,
hears that Jesus is walking by and shouts for him.
“Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”
The crowds told him to be quiet.
Rather than Jesus rebuking the crowds
as with the little children,
this man in need rebukes them himself.
He calls out even louder,
“Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”
After this louder cry,
Jesus stops and has the man brought to him.
The crowd changes its tune.
“Take heart” they say, “he’s calling you to him.”
Bartimeus may have been blind,
but Mark does not suggest
that he is feebly by any means.
Hearing that Jesus calls him,
he throws off his clock,
and goes to Jesus.
When was the last time Jesus called you to do something,
and you sprang up to answer him?
When Bartimeus gets to Jesus,
Jesus asks what he wants.
This man has been shouting for Jesus,
getting louder when the people try to silence him,
so Jesus wants to know what his deal is.
Bartimeus, in a moment of vulnerability and honesty
says, “My teacher, let me see again.”
We have nothing to suggest that Bartimeus and Jesus
knew one another before this encounter,
and yet Bartimeus knows of Jesus of Nazareth.
The word of Jesus has been spreading,
despite Jesus constantly telling the disciples
not to talk about him.
Bartimeus here doesn’t call Jesus
Messiah, Savior, Lord, or Miracle Worker.
Bartimeus, who has heard of this wandering rabbi Jesus,
calls him teacher.
Jesus’ reputation for what he’s teaching is spreading,
not just good news of him healing people.
Jesus answered, “Go; your faith has made you well.”
Bartimeus didn’t beat around the bush.
He demanded to be seen and heard.
When his sight was restored,
he didn’t go back to begging
or go back to his family.
He immediately followed Jesus on the way.
As with all of Mark there is a sense of urgency in this text.
Jesus and the disciples get to Jericho and quickly leave.
Bartimeus springs up to get to Jesus
and immediately follows him when his sight has been restored.
I think Mark’s urgency
speaks to us in this congregation right now
in more than a few ways.
So does Bartimeus’ faith.
We have to act with urgency friends,
as we work to discern our future together.
We can’t act like things continue to be okay,
or that what we’ve done in the past
that is what’s gotten us here
is going to get us through this or
leave us in a stronger position.
We have to act decisively, quickly, strongly.
At the same time,
we have to strike a balance.
My clergy coach this week suggested that
it's finding the balance between thinking and acting
like everything relies on you
but knowing and believing (and acting)
like everything relies on Jesus.
Bartimeus doesn’t heal himself.
Jesus heals him — because of his faith.
His response to the healing
was a deeper following of Jesus.
I want us to learn from Bartimeus.
Today we’re going to talk about Morning Prayer
during adult ed.
Bring a Prayer Book with you to coffee hour.
I want us to learn from Bartimeus
who upon hearing that Jesus was passing by
started shouting out for Jesus to have mercy.
I want us to be shouting out in our homes,
together, in an organized way,
for Jesus to have mercy on us.
I want us to all be praying Morning Prayer daily --
at home…or if you can make it, here at the church
with me and other volunteers.
I said in this week’s vicar’s voice
that how we spend our time
says where our priorities are.
When there are 14 or 18 in church on a Sunday
that does not suggest to me or the bishop
that church is a constant, steady priority here.
I also said that I was going to ask more of your time.
This is it:
I want us to start praying Morning Prayer.
I want us to know that Jesus is passing by
and to shout for him to have mercy.
I want us to spring up at his invitation,
to act as though it all relies on us
but know that it all relies on Jesus.
I want us to follow him on the way. Amen.