Beside the Road (April 17, 2013)

…Opening To…

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can… (J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings)

…Listening In…

Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. (Mark 10:46; context)

…Filling Up…

This week we are talking about roads. Before we start walking down the road, we first have to get on it. There’s a wonderful story in the Gospel according to Mark featuring a man named Bartimaeus, who is blind. Now, Mark chooses his words economically, usually narrating scene with quick, urgent sentences and then moving on to the next story. But during the short interchange between Jesus and Bartimaeus, Mark gives us an unusual level of detail that is quite fascinating.

First, as Mark sets the scene, Bartimaeus is sitting “beside the road.” This is only natural, considering he is a beggar. When he hears that Jesus is coming along, he starts shouting out, “Son of David, show me mercy!” This catches Jesus’ attention and he calls Bartimaeus over. Mark tells us that the beggar “throws” his coat aside and “jumps up,” probably scattering the coins he had received that day. He goes over to Jesus, asks for the ability to see, and Jesus says, “Go, your faith has healed you.”

Bartimaeus interprets this “Go” as an invitation. Perhaps, he reaches into the recesses of his mind and remembers God telling Abram simply to “Go.” And Abram, who later becomes Abraham, “went,” thus launching the relationship between God and the people of Israel. Bartimaeus receives his sight and then “goes” by following Jesus on the “way.” No longer is Bartimaeus a passive sitter “beside” the road; rather, he is an active walker on the road.

Too often in my life, I find myself sitting beside the road instead of walking along it. Bartimaeus waited until he received his sight to follow. What are we waiting for?

…Praying For…

Dear God, you instill in me the desire to follow and grant me the tools to do so. Help me jump up from my reclining position and walk with you down the road. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, strengthened by your love and able to walk another day on weary feet

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