I preached at my home congregation this Sunday. The congregation has been incredibly supportive of my seminary journey so far, for which I am immensely grateful. This experience of community is most welcome for a single mother who works full time and attends school.
So, welcoming. The crowd has always been warm and welcoming to me. It was an interesting contrast to the Gospel reading in the morning's lectionary text. In Mark 10:46-52, the crowd is less than accepting of Bartimaeus as he is trying to get Jesus' attention. In essence, they tell him to shut up! A blind man is begging by the side of the road, asks Jesus for mercy, and the crowd tries to silence him.
That Jesus, though - he's a tricky one. He could have walked up to the man. Jesus could have called Bartimaeus to himself. He defies our expectations, though. He makes the crowd do it! The crowd, despite their lack of understanding, their willingness to exclude, has the opportunity to do the gospel. Jesus compels them to invite Bartimaeus to travel in their midst. How's that for grace? And mercy? And justice?
Thanks be to God for those communities which invite us in. May we have the ears to hear, and the vision to see those who are by the side of the road. May God grant us the grace we need to invite them to join us for the journey.
In my community, Bartimaeus, and his sisters and brothers on the margins spend days in the library, and nights by the river that cuts through the middle of our city. I cross that river on my way to church, and on my journey between home and office. Where does your path cross with Bartimaeus'?