Posts Tagged ‘sermon for Proper 25B’

Bartimaeus’ Cry

A Sermon on Mark 10:13-16 and 46-52

“Hush, Bartimaeus! Be quiet! Don’t make a scene!” MANY people scolded him. They spoke in the same harsh way as the disciples had spoken to the adults who tried to bring their children to Jesus. Mark uses the very same Greek word to convey their sternness.

Instead of helping Bartimaeus make contact with Jesus, they tried to shut him up. Was it because they thought he was an eyesore, a nuisance, an embarrassment that they didn’t want any VIPs to see? Bartimaeus sat by the roadside with his cloak spread open to receive coins passersby might toss his way. Maybe he resembled a homeless person curled up in a blanket in a doorway.

Bartimaeus was one of society’s least ones, a person whose life mattered less in others’ eyes—though polite people would be reluctant to admit that it mattered less. All lives matter. Right?

“Be quiet, Bartimaeus! We don’t want to hear it!”

Be quiet! Don’t make a scene. Through the ages that’s what countless people longing for things to be better have heard. People just wanting to exercise their rights as citizens, for example. People just seeking a decent living and who don’t want to be redlined out of safe neighborhoods. Be quiet! Don’t stir things up!

People just wanting to use the gifts God has given them—women who hear the call to preach, for example, still being told in so many places “Be quiet! It’s not your place!”

Parents of children with special needs petitioning for an appropriate education for their children being told “Go away! Don’t take resources away from our normal children!”

People deeply hurt by derogatory or unjust remarks made about themselves or others, but they don’t speak up. They swallow the pain because how well they have learned, “Be quiet! Be polite! Don’t stir things up!”

People with smiles plastered on their faces, but inwardly they struggle and cry. “Keep quiet,” they tell themselves. “Don’t let anybody see. Don’t let anybody hear. Don’t burden someone else.”

And many have internalized, “Don’t even bother the church. Don’t bring your brokenness to church. You at least gotta look like things are alright.” (more…)


Read Full Post »

'Day 23: Jesus the Ophthalmologist' photo (c) 2011, Cathy Stanley-Erickson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Here is a sermon from the archives for Ordinary Time 30 B (Proper 25B):

The Power to See
A Sermon on Mark 10:46-52

After he lost his sight, Bartimaeus was relegated to the sidelines.  He couldn’t see.  He couldn’t work.  He couldn’t go anywhere without help.  By day Bartimaeus sat by the side of the road with his cloak spread out to receive any coins that passersby might toss his way.  By night he slept wrapped in his cloak, the only valuable thing he owned.

Bartimaeus’ sights were limited socially as well as physically.  To most people’s way of thinking, his disability meant that God had rejected him, and that he must have done something to deserve it.  At best Bartimaeus was the object of pity, and often he was the object of scorn.

There was no denying Bartimaeus couldn’t see.  It was obvious to all.  But he wasn’t the only person in the crowd with vision problems that day.  The authorities—priests, scribes and Pharisees—were watching Jesus.  And what they saw was not a savior.  What they saw was a troublemaker.  In their eyes Jesus was a sinner who disregarded God’s laws, and in particular the Sabbath laws.  To make things even worse, Jesus claimed to forgive sins, something only God himself can do, and he spent too much time with the wrong people: the outcast, the unclean.  Early on the authorities had concluded that this lawbreaker had to be destroyed before he enticed more people away from the true religion.  Now they were looking for the opportunity to nab him.

Even Jesus’ own disciples had vision problems.  As we have seen on several Sundays recently, they were so focused on the prospect of winning and getting ahead that they couldn’t see it when Jesus showed them that the way of life was the road of humble, suffering service, and it led through the cross.  They didn’t get it when he showed them that the Kingdom of God is a pure gift to us from God, to be received simply and gratefully as a child.  It didn’t fit their expectations.  It wasn’t what they themselves wanted.  Places of honor were what they wanted.

There’s no question: what we expect to see and what we want to see shapes what we actually do see.  I read a poignant story illustrating this.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: