Tumbling in the Sand
The texts for Sunday, October 25, 2015 (22nd Sunday after Pentecost): Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 7:23-28; and Mark 10:46-52. (We didn’t choose the Reformation texts this day, but something about these texts seems to speak pretty closely to the Reformation too, even if they aren’t Martin Luther’s favorites.)
A blind man, he was sitting begging
in the same place he always sat
along the side of the road
by the busy gates of Jericho.
He had heard the whisperings, the rumors
about this man — this healer — this Jesus
and he wanted to believe
to believe that he might see again
to see the beauty of the world
to see his hands at work
to see the faces of his children, his family
to see …
He began to dram, to hope, to pray
But would Good listen to him?
He, whose physical blindness was believed in that day
to be a sign of spiritual blindness
of being cut off from God
of punishment for sin —
surely God would ignore him —
just a beggar in the street.
But, he couldn’t keep the hope from welling up
he couldn’t keep a slowly blooming dream
from opening in his heart
and so he began to surrender to it.
To let go and trust
even as day grew into night and into day
week after week for months …
Even as coins occasionally clattered on the dusty ground
around his beggar’s cup
— people too lazy, too disgusted, too anxious, too afraid, to see him
—blinded themselves from really seeing the human in the street
begging for a little to eat … to live.
The rumors sustained him.
Above his head —wrapped in his beggar’s cloak— the conversations swirled
about this Jesus’ moving around the countryside
and his healing
and his teaching — about the least of these
— about the poor
— about the sick and the sorrowful
belonging to this kingdom of God
And he wondered.
And his hope grew
So that day, when the sounds of the crowds grew
and people who had a little patience had told him that it was really Jesus,
there was no stopping his cry.
No stopping his hope.
No stopping his prayer:
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Again and again he cried over the crowds
refusing to be silenced
his voice, cracking from the strain, the sorrow, the audacious hope —
“Son of David, have mercy of me!”
“Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”
Have you perhaps heard the rumors?
The rumors of a God made flesh?
Who cares for sinners? for broken people?
for the poor, the least, the lost?
Who wants justice and sings with Mary’s voice about turning this world upside-down?
Have you heard the rumors about this God who gathers communities of love together? And calls them Christ’s body? the Church?
Perhaps you’ve heard about this Spirit — this Holy Spirit — that is to equip, empower, and give live?
Maybe you’ve even come to dream? To dream, to hope, to believe
even though it seems the days go to nights
and weeks and weeks go by
And it is so hard to keep believing
it is so hard to see —
to see yourself loved by God
to see this world made whole
to see this community thrive
to see the holy in this dust
to see a life that overcomes death.
But, you keep hearing rumors.
And maybe, just maybe this flower of faith
is insisting on blooming in your heart — even battered and bruised.
Why don’t you let go and trust it for awhile?
Cultivate those dreams, those hopes, those prayers blooming in each and everyone of you?
And cry out.
Cry out with audacious faith —
Even if you think that God might not hear.
Even if you sit in dust and sorrow.
Even if it seems the world has given up on you and stopped seeing you.
Even if you’ve given up on yourselves.
Cry out for your own sorrow and healing.
Cry out for your neighbor in need.
Cry out for this world, beaten and worn.
Cry out for justice.
Son of David, Holy God, have mercy on us!
And, take heart. Get up. God is calling you.
Featured Image: Armenian illuminated mss of Jesus healing Bartimaeus, c. 11th century. Found here: Journey with Jesus