Lent Day 34

Emergence

“What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man (Bartimaeus) 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  We don’t know exactly when it was that Bartimaeus lost his sight. We do know that Christ was willing to return his sight back to him. Everyone at one time or another “loses their way.” Though the struggle in our own timing seems long, in the same way that Christ heard the heart of faith in Bartimaeus, God hears us. Yet, “seeing” doesn’t necessarily mean that the wilderness of doubt, fear, frustration etc., won’t continue to get in our way. However, now that we “see” we know that the way through it is to follow our faith in Christ along the way.

Hungry?

bread_of_life_2_136123944_stdA large crowd kept following him, …Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’(John 6:1-14). During the holidays, my mother-in-law always seem to make enough food for 5000 people. In the years that we spent Thanksgiving at her home, I have never known her to run out of food. What was most interesting is that in addition to the many invited guests, there was always a steady flow of uninvited guests and an occasional stranger, who just happened to “show up”. Some would sit down to eat and everyone of them left with an extra plate of food (sometimes two or more) in hand as they continued on to wherever they were going when they stopped pass the house. No doubt some of them stopped because they knew she had more than enough food. When her invited guest left we also took food with us. It did not matter how many people came and left with their fill, when the clean up was done she still had enough leftover to “fill twelve baskets.” Initially this was amazing to me but eventually I came to expect this and more deeply respect her and this phenomena around feeding people. In Christ we follow because in him we believe and know there is always enough to fill our needs and often so much more. Thanks be to God!

Seeing Again

‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Mark 10:46-52 Ever notice how everything in Marks Gospel seems to happen immediately? Bartimaeus wanted to see again and immediately, because of his faith regained his sight. It seems clear that Bartimaeus wasn’t always blind. At some earlier point in his life he had vision and for reasons unknown to us he lost his sight. Who among us has not experienced a period of “blindness,” an inability to see the things right in front of our veiled eyes. It can be scary, confusing and frustrating. Life certainly can be like that sometimes. The good news is that we can do exactly what Bartimaeus did, and in faith call Jesus out to help us “see” again. For God would much rather we follow him with our eyes wide open than eyes wide closed.

Psalm 34:4-8

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
   and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
   so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
   and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in him. 

Jeremiah 31:9

With weeping they shall come,
   and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
   in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
   and Ephraim is my firstborn. 

God Calls Us

After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Luke 5:27-39

What made Levi leave his livelihood? Physically, Levi wasn’t a broken man. In fact he was rather well off, having the resources to throw Jesus a great banquet in his home. Perhaps we should all have such resources, except that our resources have nothing to do with who or why God calls us to follow him. So, how is it that Christ can affect the lives of both fisherman and tax collectors? Perhaps the answer, is in that with which we choose to struggle and alternatively, that which we choose to yield or give in to. Clearly, God sees what we can not see when seeking out his own. Christ himself says that he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out; “I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:1-16). In the physical life we choose to live, there are highs as well as periods of struggle when the pressure of expectation to produce and provide overwhelms us. But Christ doesn’t necessarily call us out of the physical life. Instead Christ calls us into the Spiritual life, a consciousness that leads us toward a greater presence with God. As the Holy Spirit is eternal, the Good News is that God is always calling us. What remains is whether we choose to  follow or choose to ignore it and go our own way.

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