Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52
I cannot hear the story of blind Bartimaeus without thinking about the first verse of Amazing Grace. A song which has been so embedded in my life, so much of the part of the fabric that it seems woven into my DNA. My ancestors walked the Trail of Tears and sang that song. "U ne la nv i u we tsi, i ga go yv he i,hna quo tso sv wi yu lo se,i ga gu yv ho nv." " Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." It is the song so many know by heart and it is the song of resistance, survival and the reassurance of God's grace in our lives, all written by a former slave ship captain.
Bartimaeus does not back down when others tell him to be quiet. He has been sitting by the road, begging for his daily bread and wants to live. He no longer want to be stuck in his pain and limitations, by the rules of society that have pushed him to the margin, nor by his own personal history. He wants to move and follow Jesus. He receives his healing and gets on his way following the source of all healing and compassion. We are invited to be bold like him, and then when the barriers are lifted to be up and sharing the love we have received.
Today, as we all face a variety of limitations and storms, as we hunker down to face what comes our way, may we be bold as we cry out to God, trusting that God will restore us. May we rely completely on the amazing grace and love of God, which is more ready to give than we are to ask. May we cry out and offer our need, and seek God in all of our pain and anxiety. And may God provide just what we need to get up and love others.
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.