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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Focus: The Real Miracle

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10: 46-52
Here we go again. Jesus is pulling another miracle out of his bottomless bag of wonders. It’s not as spectacular as raising the dead, curing a crowd of lepers or feeding multitudes. In fact, in Mark’s gospel, this is the second time that Jesus cures a blind man. But the real miracle in this account is a lot more significant than just a rerun.
Jesus cures Bartimaeus with the words: Your faith has saved you. In the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, there is reference to the word faith only twice. Yet in the far briefer New Testament, faith is cited scores of times…and never more powerfully than Jesus does in this week’s gospel.
After a lifetime of blindness, Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus in desperation. Jesus hears his cry.  He clearly sees the blind man’s faith fighting through the darkness. Like Bartimaeus, we turn to Christ in disappointment and pain when all else has failed. Jesus is used to that. He knows our frailty, our shaky mix of fear and faith. And that’s as it should be. It is our human condition. Because faith is not a destination. It is a journey. And the journey is fraught with detours and potholes.
First there are the roadblocks we build ourselves…our doubts, our inhibitions, our reluctance to let go and put things in God’s hands. Then there are the obstacles that others erect. Some were quick to tell Bartimaeus to pipe down and stop bothering Jesus. They thought Christ had better things to do than bother with this blind man. Today these are the same folks who would let us know that it’s definitely not cool to be publicly proclaiming Jesus. But being uncool is at the very core of faith. So uncool in fact that Paul writes to the Corinthians: That we are fools for Christ’s sake.
For such a simple, familiar word, faith is a highly complex and contradictory concept. That’s because it involves getting our intellects and our wills in sync with God’s grace. Stacks and stacks of theology texts have been devoted to sorting out this concept. But you probably have a pretty good insight right in your hip pocket. Fish in your wallet for a dollar. On the flip side you’ll see printed the words: In God We Trust.
That says it all. Like Bartimaeus, in the face of doubt and discouragement…in the teeth of condescension and ridicule, through the grace of God, we can receive that priceless will to believe. It’s ours for the asking. And that’s the real miracle.


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