• Content

  • Pages

  • Upcoming Events

    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

Pentecost 22 Proper 25B October 24, 2021

Job 42: 1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52

In our opening reading today, we meet Job once again. He wanted to meet with God, to argue his case before God. He wanted God to know that he was a good man, a righteous man. He wanted God to understand him and his situation.

As we saw last Sunday, Job did meet God. Once he was in the presence of the almighty God, the creator of the universe, he realized there was no way that he would be able to fathom the mystery of God. In today’s reading, Job says that he despises himself, but Biblical scholar James D. Newsome says that translation is a bit off the mark. He suggests that, instead of Job saying. I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes,” we should understand Job as saying, “I admit my mistake and I yield.” (Newsome, Texts for Preaching, p. 558.)

Newsome rephrases Job’s apology to God this way, “When I asked you to meet me in court, O Jahweh, I simply didn’t know what I was talking about. But things are clearer to me now. I no longer wish to challenge you;  I only wish to learn from your wisdom.” (Newsome, p. 558.)

Have you ever been angry with God? Have you ever argued with God? Shaken your fist at God and hurled questions at God? I think most of us have been angry with God at one time or another. And one important point of these readings from Job is that it is all right to be mad at God, to yell and scream and cry at God about the awful things that happen to us in life. I remember one time at a retreat, a dear friend and I knelt before the altar as he expressed his anger with God about his son’s fatal illness.

But after all of this struggle, God gives Job twice what he had before; his friends return to him. Life is even better than it was before.  And what does this mean? Newsome gives us a powerful answer: “Yahweh loves Job as Yahweh loves all people. Yahweh blesses Job as Yahweh intends to bless all people…. God’s ways are mysterious and past our understanding, but one thing is not in dispute: the God of Israel, the Father of Jesus Christ, is a God of compassion whose ultimate will for all persons is peace and joy.” (Newsome, p. 55.)

In our reading from Hebrews, the writer describes the ancient high priests who would go into the temple once a year and offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Each priest would eventually die and would be replaced. The life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our Lord have given us a close relationship with our God. We have become God’s children. As our Lord says, we can call God “Abba,” “Dad,” or “Mom.” Because of the ministry of Jesus, we are not far away from God as Job was. Our God is in the midst of us. Our God is as close as our breath.

In today’s gospel, Jesus and his disciples are in Jericho. Herbert O’Driscoll tells us that, after you walked through the busy streets of Jericho, heading south, the beggars would be gathered on the outskirts of the city. If you had stayed overnight, you were well fed and you would be rested and might be in a better mood to be generous.

Here is Bartimaeus, a blind beggar. He hears that Jesus is coming. We can surmise that he has heard about Jesus already because he begins shouting loudly to get our Lord’s attention. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People tell him to be quiet, but he shouts even more loudly. He is determined to get Jesus’ attention. It is a long walk to Jerusalem, and Jesus could well have ignored Bartimaeus. But he did not do that. He stopped and said, “Call him here.” Now the people who  have been telling Bartimaeus to be quiet get into the spirit of things. They tell Bartimaeus, “Take heart; get up; he is calling you.”

Bartimaeus throws off his cloak. Perhaps he is shedding his old life for a new one. Perhaps he is lightening his burden. Bartimaeus springs up and goes to Jesus. He is blind but he has heard that voice and he goes right to Jesus. Then our Lord asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And Bartimaeus says, “My teacher, let me see again.” This tells us that Bartimaeus was once able to see. He has not always been blind. To have once been able to see and now be blind lets us know that he has undergone a great loss. He was once able to see, and now he has a severe disability and has to beg for a living.

Jesus does not make a poultice and put it on the eyes of Bartimaeus, He does not even touch Bartimaeus. He says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” But Bartimaeus does not go anywhere. He regains his sight and follows Jesus.

This is our high priest, This is our God among us. He could ignore us. He could resume his journey without listening or paying attention. But he never does that. He listens. He treats everyone of us as his beloved brother or sister. He hears the anguish, the longing, the depth of our need. And he responds. Bartimaeus can now see, and what does he do? He becomes a disciple of Jesus.

Most of us have probably argued with God or railed at God and that is fine. God can take it. But we can also ask God for help. We can also ask God to heal us, strengthen us, guide us, give us the grace to do something we know we have to do, but we have no idea how we’re going to be able to do it without God’s help.

This is why God has come among us. So that we can reach out the way Bartimaeus and thousands of others have reached out to our loving God, We have all asked God for help at one time or another, and that may be why we are all following Jesus. Because there is real help with him. He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” And we tell him, and he listens. He hears us. And in one way or another, he helps us. It may not be in the way we imagined, but it may be a way that turns out to be better. As James Newsome says, “God is a God of compassion whose ultimate will for all persons is peace and joy.” Amen.

%d bloggers like this: