October 31, 2021
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by Ushers as you entered.
· masks are required by Session, as well as social distancing
bulletins are placed in the pews to help with social distancing
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· Please write your prayer request on the Yellow cards. An usher will pick them up during the 1st hymn.
· Please join us after service for fellowship will be continuing with beverages only, in Calvin Hall
Gary Iverson, Bob Bock, Joan Boyd, Jack Braden, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Valerie Jerez, Annette Conzett, Jo Lefleur, Dr Dyke, Jane , , Amy Jacobs, Bonnie Pillers, Mike Niles, Harlan Marx had a knee replacement and Tom Kelly who is recovering from surgery. Lois Seger is moving to Council Bluffs, IA to be near her daughter and will be living in an assisted living -we send her with love, the Steven’s Family, Reed Family, Patti Thomas’s Family, Lassen Family Death Uwe’s son Robert, Family of Elise King, and Lucy Melvin hip surgery October 25
*Call to worship Unison (Psalm 134:1-2 )
Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord, lift up your hands to the holy place, and praise the Lord”
*GATHERING PRAYER (Unison)
Lord, as we come before You, help us to leave other things behind so we can focus on You. Help us to quiet all the noises in our heads and hearts so we can hear what You have to say to us. Help us to calm all the fears in our hearts so we can do what You call us to do. We ask all this in Jesus’ name, amen.
*HYMN We gather Together No. 559
Prayer of Confession (UNISON)
We come before You God, knowing full well we have not always been an obedient child. We have said and done things we knew we should not say or do. We have failed to do things we know we should have done and we know we have no right to be here.
Yet, You have loved us and called us Your children.
You have promised Your love, forgiveness and grace to all those who call upon You. Because of Your promises, we turn to You, asking Your strength for this day and every day. Be with us now and at all times so we may grow in our dedication and service to You. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
(Pastor) God has promised mercy and forgiveness to all those who seek Him. Because of those promises we can say, (Unison) we are forgiven people, thanks be to God, Amen
THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
Lord God, we give because You give to us so freely. We know all we have and all we are comes from You. Bless our gifts and bless us we pray. Amen
Prayer for Illumination
(Unison) “Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth, thou has for me” (from Hymn of same title, first phrase)
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him. “So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
SERMON “Take heart”
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to face the last days of His life. Mark says there was a large crowd following him. The crowd may have been there for many reasons but Jesus was focused on what lay ahead of Him. Mark then introduces Bartimaeus the blind beggar, not only does he name him but he identifies the father, Timaeus, as well. There are a couple of reasons Mark does this, 1) because blind people are almost always beggars and, as such, are close to invisible in that society. they had no social significance nor standing of any kind and not really worth anyone’s attention. 2) we discover at the end of the story Bartimaeus, once he had been healed, became a follower of Jesus. There are several healings in Mark’s gospel but this is the only one recorded that later became a follower of Jesus and so he is unique in several ways.
Word spread quickly through town that Jesus was making his way there. clearly, because there was a large crowd following Him, word about Jesus was also making its way through. People were caught up in the things Jesus was saying and doing. Rumors were rampant that this Jesus just might be the long-awaited messiah of Israel. Everyone wanted to be close to the excitement, to see and hear what Jesus might do next.
When Bartimaeus heard it was Jesus, he began to cry out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me” the title “son of David” was not one commonly used in speaking about the Messiah but several places in the Psalms hold up a special relationship between the greatest King of Israel and the Messiah who was coming to bring in the day of the lord. These places seem to tie the Messiah to Jerusalem in a special way because David is often referred to as, “a man after God’s own heart”
When the crowd heard Bartimaeus cry out, they tried to silence him. After all, he is only a beggar, Jesus surely had better things than deal with that sort of person. There are no doubt many important people in the crowd following Jesus, surely, Jesus will deal with them. No one has time to spend on dealing with a beggar. Bartimaeus has different ideas. The more the crowd tries to silence him, the more he cries out. If the word was out about Jesus, then the many healings he had performed had been heard of. Perhaps, Bartimaeus thought, just perhaps if I yell loud enough, I will be heard and Jesus will heal me as he has healed others, after all, I have nothing to lose by trying.
Jesus, hearing him said, “call him here” the one the crowd had tried to silence, the one whom people tended to ignore, the one who is ordinarily on the outside of everything was now the focus of everyone’s attention. Out of all the people who were following Jesus, out of all the people who were gathered from the town itself, this beggar was the one Jesus called. Everyone’s attention was now on full alert, what was Jesus going to do now that he had called this blind beggar forward?
When Bartimaeus heard this, Mark says, “so, throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus” at first, this sounds very casual but it has real significance for a person in Bartimaeus’ position. The cloak was the thing that kept the sun and rain off a person. The cloak was the thing that gave them warmth at night, the cloak was the thing they sat on during the day while they were begging to keep themselves from the rocks on the ground. For a blind person to throw that aside was dangerous. They might not ever find it again unless someone else helped them. He was in such a hurry to get to Jesus he cast aside one of his most precious possessions and went to Him.
When he got to Jesus, Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”” when we read this, we think the answer is obvious. The man is blind, he is forced to beg for his daily food. Surely, anyone can see he wants to be given his sight. He wants to be back in the society from which he has been excluded because of his blindness. Jesus, however, wants Bartimaeus to claim what he wants. One of the things they teach in counseling classes is not to finish a person’s sentence for them. A person is trying to say something and struggling to find the right word and the temptation is to say the word you think they are struggling for. You are cautioned not to do this because the word you think of might not be the word they want but when they hear you say something they will tend to accept that word as their answer. Jesus wants Bartimaeus to give his answer to the question not to accept the answer of someone else, not even Jesus.
“My teacher, let me see again”. We have to stop a second, Bartimaeus and Jesus have not met before, Bartimaeus has never heard Jesus preach before today and yet he calls him, my teacher. Clearly the things Bartimaeus has heard have impressed him to the point he was willing to cry out in the midst of a large crowd. To call someone your teacher implies a relationship of some sort. Bartimaeus was willing cry out with all his heart because somehow, he had the idea or the hope Jesus would do something about his situation. At first, all he could do is say, “son of David, have mercy on me” but now, when Jesus asks him directly, he is able to state what he wants, “let me see again”
“Go, your faith has made you well” Jesus says. notice Jesus did not touch him the way he has touched others when they were healed. He did not make clay and rub it on his eyes the way he did when he healed another blind person. All he did was tell Bartimaeus to go, go back to his family, his home, his occupation, his friends. All the things that were part of his life before his blindness were now available to him. Now, he was cured. Jesus had heard him cry out above the crowd even though they had tried to silence him. He had heard what lay behind the word “teacher” and had seen him leave his cloak behind in order to get to Jesus. All these things added up to a person who was ready to take a chance to be healed and so Jesus was willing to send him on his way home.
The finish was, indeed, a happy ending. “Immediately, he gained his sight and followed him on the way” mark says. now, Jesus had just told him he could go. He had been healed. He had what he had asked for. Jesus did not ask anything of him. He was free to do whatever he chose. There was nothing keeping him with Jesus now that he was healed.
Instead, he followed Jesus. If you had asked him a few days before what he would do if the blindness ever left him, he probably would have talked about going to his family, his town, his friends. He would have spoken about how good it would be to see all those things again. Perhaps now, he would appreciate them in a different way having been blind for a while. Now, he had met the teacher. He had felt power enter him and he had his sight back. Now, all he could think about was seeing more. Hearing this teacher for himself rather than relying on the reports of others about what the teacher was saying and doing and learning what it would mean for him to be a follower of this teacher.
We’ve heard and read this story many times. We knew, from the beginning, how it was going to end. What do we need to hear from this story? what is there we can hang onto? What can we share about the story that will help us, and others around us from day to day? The crowd tells Bartimaeus to hold on, what can we hold on to in this story?
First, Bartimaeus was identified by name. that is not usually the case for blind beggars of that time. Generally, they were nameless. People who were not usually even seen in society let along given any consideration as a person, a person with family and a life of their own. Sometimes, we consider ourselves to be nameless when we think about God. There are billions of people on the earth, so why should God have any interest in me or my situation in life. There are many people more important, more influential, more worthwhile than me. There is noting special about me that would give God any reason to notice me or give me any consideration. In Isaiah 49:1 we read, “the lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb, he named me” the concept of God knowing each of us before we were born was long a concept within the Jewish faith which the Christian faith has adopted into its own thinking. The idea that along with creating the heavens and the earth God has created each of us and that each of us has a special place within God’s plan. This concept stands with us to help us understand we are not nameless before God but that each of us is loved and special to God.
Bartimaeus was heard and called by Jesus. The social status of a beggar was nothing to command anyone’s attention and yet, Jesus heard him. Not only heard him but called him forward. When we pray, sometimes it seems all the noise in our lives can drowned out even our own cries. Surely, we sometimes say, God can’t hear me over all the other noise around me. There are people who are facing hunger, wars, floods, much more crucial things than me. Why would God hear me when there are all these other cries? Yet, we are urged again and again in the scriptures to bring our concerns to God. We are assured he will not only hear, but he will call each of us forward to come before him with the things that are on our hearts and minds. We are assured he will hear and respond.
Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants him to do for him. In the same way, God wants us to name what we want from him. Yes, God knows all things, yes, God knows what lies ahead for us but still we are to ask with the confidence of a child asking a loving parent for something. The child knows that even though the answer may not be the one they expect or want, still the loving parent will not give them something that is bad for them. We do not ask because God does not know what we want or need, we ask because sometimes, when I put something into words it sounds very different than when I am just thinking about it. Sometimes, when I put my prayer into words, I realize I am being silly or selfish and need to reconsider what I am praying for. Saying directly what I want from God makes me think seriously about what I am asking for from God.
Jesus granted the prayer because of the faith Bartimaeus displayed. We are urged to pray urgently and with faith but we have all seen very faithful people pray diligently and not get the answers they had hoped for. It is easy to lose faith because of that. Every parent knows you cannot always give a child everything they ask for. You love them, you want them to be happy, you want them to love you but the thing they are asking for is not possible for many reasons. In the same way, God does not always give us what we ask for even though we ask with all the faith at our command. Sometimes, we have to understand God sees and knows things we do not know. The best proof of this is, when Jesus was in the garden before all the events of the crucifixion began, he prayed, “father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want, but what you want” it is clear Jesus did not want to go to the cross and die the horrible death before him. He prayed it might be removed from him and yet, he was willing to put himself in God’s hands. All our prayers need to keep in mind God has a plan which works for the best of all concerned. it is difficult to see sometimes but nevertheless true.
We need to always remember to defer our prayers to God’s will.
Last, when it was all over, Jesus told Bartimaeus he could go. What he had asked for had been given. There was nothing left unfinished. He was free to do as he wished. Instead, Bartimaeus followed him. He does not show up in the list of disciples, indeed, we never hear or see his name again. Yet, Mark records he followed Jesus. When we become disciples, we do not lose our will. We are always free to leave. God has created us with a mind to make choices and we are always free to do as we wish. The call for each of us is to continue to follow. Sometimes we do it with open eyes and sometimes we do it because we have been doing it for a while and it seems like the thing to do. Each of us has a choice to make every day. We are free to go, God will not stop us if we choose to leave. Yet, as we continue to choose to follow we gain in our understanding and strength to continue to follow.
Like Bartimaeus we are charged to “take heart, get up, he is calling you.” God has called each of us just as surely as Jesus called Bartimaeus that day. We are called to follow as best we can. Like Bartimaeus our names may not be recorded in any great acts of courage or dedication but as we follow we attend the meetings, teach the Sunday school classes, serve on the committees and, in general do the things that keep the church moving in the direction God has called us to go. Each of us serve in our own ways and by doing the things God has given us to do we are answering the call God has given us.
*Hymn Called as Partners in Christ’s Service No.343
*AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
He is seated on the right hand of the Father,
And he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
MORNING PRAYER AND LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen.
*HYMN Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing No 538
* CHARGE & BLESSING
Go out in the world in peace, have courage, hold onto what is good, return no one evil for evil, strengthen the fainthearted, support the weak, honor the suffering, honor all people. Love and serve the lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. May the love and amazing grace of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit be with us and upon us now and all the days of our lives, Amen
*Stand as you are able.