Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 28, 2012  Reformation Sunday commemorating the date — October 31, 1517 — on which Martin Luther sent a letter, including a series of 95 Theses for a "Debate Concerning the Efficacy of Indulgences" (as the original Latin text is titled), to a number of bishops in the areas surrounding Wittenberg, where Luther was professor at the University and priest of the City Church. (The widely popularized idea that Luther defiantly and literally nailed these theses to the door of the church now appears to a good number of scholars to be a sixteenth-century "urban legend.") United Methodist Worship planning helps.
  •  Job acknowledges God's power and presence and his own need to repent. God restores Job when Job has offered intercession for the "friends" who had misrepreeb
  • salm 34:1-8  A psalm of trust and testimony.
  • Hebrews 7:23-28: The writer continues to compare the priesthood of Christ with that of the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood. Their priesthood required daily sacrifices to be offered for their own sins and the sins of the people. Christ's priesthood, a priesthood of intercession, has ended sacrifices. By offering himself in obedience to God, even to the point of death, Jesus became the perfect and complete channel of intercession for the whole world.
Mark 10:46-52: Coming to Jericho, Jesus restores the sight of a blind man named Bartimaeus
"Bartimaeus son of Timaeus" (v. 46).  Bar means son of in Aramaic, a language similar to Hebrew and the common language of Palestinian Jews in Jesus' day.   Sermon Writer
-Jesus' ears are attuned to hear the marginal person:  The woman with a hemorrhage (5:25-34) –– the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20) –– the sick in Gennesaret (6:53-56) –– the Syrophoenician woman (7:24-30) –– the blind man at Bethsaida (8:22-25) –– the boy with a spirit (9:14-29) –– little children (10:13-16) –– and now this blind man who sits beside the road.
-If you were a Jewish reader of Mark’s Gospel, and you got to this story of blind Bartimaeus, healed by Jesus just before Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, your mind would necessarily hearken back to another occasion on which not the “son of David” but David himself entered Jerusalem, and that for the first time. And, oh yes, the blind are there too.   L. Gregory Bloomquist,
-The value of being blind is no longer to be a pawn in the hands of the powerful but as one who sees how great his need is. The value of being blind is to see what is truly needed and who can offer help.  These are the “soldiers” in the army of the Messiah Jesus. This is how he will seize fortresses.   ibid
-"My teacher" (Rabbouni).  In the New Testament, we see this word Rabbouni only here and when Mary recognizes the risen Christ outside the tomb (John 20:16).  It is a reverent form of Rabbi, "used by the rabbis themselves only in addressing God" (Boring, 306).
-What the blind man asked was quite different from what James and John asked.  The blind man asked not to be seen, but to see –– not for honor, but for vision –– not to be superior to ordinary people, but to become ordinary himself –– not to rule over others, but to join others in their experience of a normal life.
-simply by saying that they are “going up to Jerusalem,” Mark is telling us something about his understanding of the events there. With that phrase he makes it clear that Jesus is replicating the journey that used to be taken at the start of each new year by Israel’s kings, when they would set aside their royal robes and leave the throne, to descend to Jericho and ascend as commoners to the holy city to accept again God’s commission to govern Israel with justice and integrity. For Mark, then, Jesus is on the way to his enthronement, this time on the cross of treason and shame. By throwing aside that cloak, Bartimaeus threw aside the tool of his trade, like the fishermen casting aside their nets in the stories we usually think of as the calling of the disciples. When he jumped up without his cloak, his life was already different. His words asking for sight to be restored so that he would no longer need to beg simply confirmed that interruption, that profound change. From a sermon by  Dr. Sharon H. Ringe
-this story of Jesus healing a blind man is found in  Matthew 20, Mark 10, and Luke 18. All three stories have a similar geographic location in Jericho.  All three stories are parallel in the time frame of Jesus’ life. That is, the healing of the blind man occurs just before the anointing of Jesus for burial at Bethany and his grand entrance into Jerusalem for the Palm Sunday Parade. Markquart
-I think that we would be like the disciples and try to silence the disrupting person. Stoffregen
-Williamson (Mark, Interpretation Commentaries) has this brief statement: "... the cure of Bartimaeus is climactic in the sense that its outcome marks the goal of this Gospel in the life of its readers: He followed Jesus 'on the way'." [p. 196] Cross marks
-In the end, confrontation. Bartimaeus goes face-to-face with Jesus, pleading for sight. Job goes eye-to-eye with God and must take a long look at his own life and repent. Hebrews calls us to approach God—through Jesus Christ—that we might find salvation. These stories have happy endings. Job’s fortunes are doubled from where he began, his sheep number 14,000, and his daughters have unsurpassed beauty. (And, oh yes, he lives another 140 years.) Bartimaeus never again visits an ophthalmologist. The Hebrews have their great high priest. These endings show the way to new beginnings, where the integrity of the faithful powers the way of salvation for all, Sojourners
-We are responsible for our own healing.
-The Gospel story of Bartimaeus is a story about the restoration of sight to one who wanted to step out of his own personal darkness
A blind man with 20/20 vision (20/20 spiritual vision)
-What corners of the church, of society need serious reformation in this 21st century? Where are our blind spots? Will a reformer arise among us? Should one arise, what will we do to him or her? What do we allow to go unchallenged today that will one day cause our grandchildren to shake their heads at how blind we were to the gospel?
-We are not free not to chose.
-Making choices:  Aesop's fable about the donkey that starved to death between two stacks of hay because he was unable to chose between them .
-There's a blindness that's worse than physical blindness, and that's spiritual blindness.
-This is an "on the way" story with the usual cast of characters:  Jesus, the Twelve, a huge crowd, and a person in need.
sermon Bartimaeus challenges you and me to listen more carefully, to speak more boldly and to respond more faithfully.
-The miracle of the Gospel story is not the Bartimaeus stopped Jesus but the Jesus' stopping started Bartimaeus.
-The story of Bartimaeus is the story of discipleship. Like the rich man, Bartimaeus meets Jesus “on the way.” The rich man could not give up his wealth, but Bartimaeus throws away his cloak, his sole element of livelihood. The rich man received a direct call—Bartimaeus does not even wait, but immediately follows. In Mark’s gospel this story is a fulfillment of the saying “the first shall be last and the last first.”
-There is a strong analogy in all the gospels between physical sight and spiritual sight.  Jesus says of those who do not receive his words "Seeing {they} see not..." [Matt. 13:13] In the gospel of John the Pharisees are offended at Jesus' words about those who do not perceive spiritual truth and ask, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" [John 9:40
-It's hard to live a sighted life. Most of us find it easier to stay in the dark.
-Do miracles give us our faith or is it faith that causes miracles?
-Must have faith that God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Bill Coffin 
- Hold onto all the paradoxes of our faith. In the midst of doubt, there is faith, in light, we find shadows, in our broken openess, we can  discover our wholeness
"Vision," according to the English writer Jonathan Swift, "is the art of seeing things invisible."
-There's nothing so blind as they that won't see. Eng. proverb
-There is an old adage that the church is not a community of saints, but a hospital for sinners.
-Salvation is healing   Tillich
-Helen Keller was asked if there was, in her estimation, anything worse than being blind and she responded, "Yes. Having no vision."
-This contrast between Bartimaeus and the disciples is  illustrated by answers to Jesus' question: "What do you want me to do for you?" (10:36, 51) -- they are virtually the same words in both verses). The two disciples want positions of honor. The blind man wants to see.
-Since this text occurs on Reformation Sunday, it could be used to illustrate that our salvation comes solely through the work and miracle of God. Not through our own abilities.
-Human life can never generate divine life. Divine life must be a gift. Sheen
-We should see ourselves both as the blind man -- in need of the divine miracle so that we can be saved and follow Jesus on the way; and as members of the crowd who need to share the news about Jesus with people who are on the "side of the way" -- the outsiders

SERMON         SPIRITUAL MYOPIA   We are too near sighted. We see only those those things within human-eye view.  We must become more far sighted...see beyond the physical to the spiritual--God's-eye view.   Lindy
-Told that he was farsighted, he asked his optometrist exactly what that meant.  "Well, technically, the optometrist replied, "it means that you focus on infinity.
look beyond the fly specs on the window
- God's-eye view vision

-Help us when we are blind to our own blindness .
-If we allow Jesus to open our eyes fully, what change might that require of us? What areas of "selective blindness have you had to tackle in your own lives?  Catherine McElhinney and Kathryn Turner,
-Non religious people only believe their eyes. The Wise men believed beyond their eyes.             
-Helen Keller was asked if there was anything worse than being blind...."Yes, to have no vision"
-Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "why not?" R. Kennedy vision
-We do not see thing as they are but through what we are.
-Transcending: not going beyond but seeing beyond. Chopra
-The brain is wider than the sky. Bradford Smith
- What we see is 1/3 outside our eyes and 2/3 inside our eyes.
-"The eye with which you see God is the same eye with which God sees you." Meister Eckhart
-Need a wide angle lens
-Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder  Margaret Wolfe
-See the poverty in your abundance.
-Point us to where work points,  beyond itself...beyond us...beyond where You are.
-Non religious people only believe their eyes. The Wise men believed beyond their eyes. (as did Simeon)
-You cannot find wisdom if you look only through your human must look through God's eyes..." Gibran
- Live above "see" level,
-Faith perceives Truth sooner than Experience can. Gibran
-illusions keep us from becoming fully human. They are comfortable! Craddock
-We do not see things as they are but through what we are.
-Not what we want but what we need.
-Where my roots reach the water
-Amazing Grace
-"Hello darkness, my old friend;I've come to talk with you again." Paul
  Simon"  (Sounds of Silence)
- Faith sees best in the dark. Kierkegaard
-Bartimaes was ignored. Nelson Mandela once commented that he did not fear evil people; rather he feared good people who kept silent in the face of evil.

- Some people will change when they see the light. Others change only when they feel the heat.

1.  Charles Osgood tells the story of Bob Edens. Blind for fifty years, laser surgery restored his vision.  Edens spoke of how he marveled at the variety of vision you and I take for granted: the countless shades of green in  his lawn. the way the light shone in the windows of his home. The flight of birds.  Osgood concludes, "Once Bob Edens could not see the way we see; now we cannot see the way Bob Edens Sees."
2. In Biblical times, blindness was primarily caused by a water duct, located beneath the eyelids, drying up. The water duct under the eyelids became dry and the eyelids became puffy and swollen, as did the eyeballs themselves. This kind of blindness was spread by flies and was aggravated by the hot desert sun and desert sands. It was a highly contagious disease and the only way to contain it was to quarantine the people who had this dreaded blindness.

1.  Talk about Martin Luther
2.  Look beyond the fly specks on the window. 

3.A "blind walk" would help children understand both the experience of being unable to see and the trust that is necessary in accepting the help of others. A "blind walk" involves blindfolding one child and having another child lead them around the church

4. Humpty dumpty..." all the kings horses and all the King's men could never put humpty together again". (Only God can heal in lasting ways)

-Often the imbalances of our daily lives blind us from your presence.  Sometimes,  our work blinds us from You.   Point us to where work points,  beyond itself...beyond us...beyond where You are.   Sometimes,  our religion blinds us from your presence.   Lead us to where true religion complete trust in You.  May our religion open our eyes, not blind us. Sometimes our abundance blinds us from your presence.   Show us the poverty in our abundance.  Open our eyes to our own poverty of spirit. .Help us with our blindness.  Help us when we are blind to our own blindness.  Lindy
-Benediction:  Go out into the world, no longer blind but seeing. No longer unfeeling, but caring. No longer deaf, but hearing the cries of those in pain.  May the blessings of God go with you all.  Amen.

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