19 July 2020
Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
As a child and young teenager, I had almost no Christian upbringing. Atheism was the only choice on offer. Science, I was told, prohibits any belief in God and thus all religion is nonsense. And as so often is the case now belief in God was not even considered. It was not debated or discussed but just outside any realms of consideration. However, influenced by Bob Dylan in my youth I began - not to consider religion but rather despair of atheism. How come ‘Black lives matter’? Why should we care for justice if we’re all only animals in a jungle? — And then there is death! Death forever and never never never waking up. Ask — as I did of atheism, “Where is life going?” the only answer is nowhere! And so, to my shame I came searching for God with the rather weak motive that I had no better offers in atheism. I was desperate! I was a blind beggar! And so too we see a blind beggar in our passage for today. Bartimaeus refused to care what the crowd was telling him and, in his despair, he cried out all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus, like you and I — had not and could not see any of Jesus’ miracles but only heard reports from others. Bartimaeus did not care that Jesus was from Nazareth, a fact that the educated and elite would despise. “Can anything good come from Nazareth”, they would ask? No, Bartimaeus, when Jesus called him, threw off his cloak and leap up and when Jesus healed him, he continued to follow him. — The 14th of July 1971 in a park in Turlock California, this blind beggar met and inwardly experienced Jesus Christ. We live in rather desperate times but despair can sometimes bring a humility and openness to the spirit of God that arrogance and pride will prohibit. But perhaps like myself and Bartimaeus you feel no regret in coming to God with humble thankfulness as a blind beggar. Amen.