OT 30 – 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

October 27, 2024

Lectionary Texts

Job 42. 1-6, 10-17, —Job’s response: “I have uttered what I did not understand. I repent.” Plus the added “Happily Ever After” ending.

Psalm 34 — I sought God, who answered me. Taste and see that God is good. God is near to the brokenhearted.

Hebrews 7. 23-28 — Jesus, the great high priest who has been made perfect.

Mark 10.46-52 — The healing of blind Bartimaeus.

[Bartimaeus cry to Jesus is the basis of the historic Jesus Prayer—“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”— slightly altered in these resources.]

Preaching Thoughts

       Job asks God, Why do bad things happen to good people?” God replies, “Look at Creation. Do you understand it? No. Neither can you figure out an explanation for suffering But meanwhile, this Creation: amazing, isn’t it? And you’re part of it.” Hm. That’s sort of an answer but not entirely. It basically means (a) there is no “reason” for suffering, it just happens; (b) it’s not something you can understand anyway; and (c) life is more than your suffering. Cool, huh? And as partial as this answer is, Job accepts it. The ancient poem invites us to accept the randomness of life, including its suffering, and let go of the illusion that life ought to be fair. God does not balance things out, punishing evil and rewarding goodness. It’s not so neat. So don’t judge. Stop trying to make it make sense. Abandon your desire for explanations (and blame and credit) and just accept the present moment, without judgment, without dwelling on what you wish reality were like. Life is this, not something else. Be here now.
       Ironically, stewards of the Job story couldn’t live with that conclusion, so they contradicted the very point of the story and explained sufferingand made everything better. They came up with an explanation: Job suffered because God let Satan test him. And they balanced everything out: in the end Job got a new wife and kids and a better car and a second house at the lake and his team won the Super Bowl three years in a row! Baloney. I never read this part, or I would be too tempted to make fun of it.

Bartimaeus sits beside the Way. The Way is both a roadway and also a way of life, the way of discipleship. When Bartimaeus is transformed by his healing, he follows Jesus on the Way.
       A usual the people around Jesus try to protect him (or maybe themselves) from people in need. Jesus corrects them. Our churches can be like that, excluding (intentionally or not) the very people Jesus wants to connect with.
       Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants. Jesus is profoundly attentive, not making assumptions, not acting for the other, but letting the man make his own choices.

A Bartimaeus Meditation

Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting beside the Way.
             What is the Way you are beside: something incomplete,
             something not yet happening? Offer it to God.

He began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many sternly ordered him to be quiet.
             What has silenced you?
             What has kept you from rushing headlong to God?

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.”
Imagine Jesus calls you.
             Jesus wants you. Wants you near.

They called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”
Recite these words to yourself.
Take heart; get up, your Love is calling you.

Throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
Your souls is not as timid as you:
casting your safety aside, leaping, unseeing, to the Beloved.

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Let him ask you.
And again.

“My teacher, let me see again.”
What would you see?

Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.”
              Your crying out, your soul’s leaping,
your blind begging is holy.

Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

          What is the new Way you will follow on?

Pray this all day long without ceasing:
             “Jesus, Beloved of God, have mercy on me.
             “Jesus, Beloved of God, have mercy on me.”

Call to Worship

Leader: Creator of all, God, we open ourselves to the gift of all Creation.
       All: Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
Loving Christ, we open our arms to your love and your healing.
       Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
Holy Spirit, come fill us with your power and your grace.
       Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
       We worship in gratitude, in trust and in joy. Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, source of our being, we turn to you for life and breath.
       All: O Love, have mercy on us!
Crucified and Risen Christ, bearer of forgiveness and healing, we turn to you for grace.
       O Love, have mercy on us!
Holy Spirit, divine presence and energy within and among us,
we turn to you on behalf of one another and the whole hurting world.
       O Love, have mercy on us, and grant us your peace. Amen.

We have sought God, who has answered us, and delivered us from all our fears.
       We poor souls cried out, and the Holy One heard us,
       and saved us from every trouble.
Those who trust God have no want;
       they who seek the Holy One lack no good thing.
Bless the Eternal One at all times; let God’s praise be continually in your mouths.
       Alleluia! Christ Jesus, son of God, have mercy on us. Alleluia!

Leader: People of God, Christ has drawn near.
       All: Jesus, Beloved of God, have mercy on us!
What do you want him to do for you?
       We want to see again.
       We want to see with eyes of hope and faith,
       to see with eyes of love.
Your faith will make you well.
       We worship in faith and trust,
       in joy and gratitude.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, like Bartimaeus we are blind to your ways and cannot see your grace. Open the eyes of our hearts, that we may see, and follow faithfully. Amen.

Jesus, Beloved of God, have mercy on us. A voice in us cries out, wiser than our public politeness. A beggar in us knows we need you. Give us grace to stop and be still, and behold you face to face. Give us faith to ask, and to wait. Jesus, Beloved of God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Gracious God, as the blind beggar came to Jesus with his prayer, we come to you. Open our eyes that we may see your presence. Open our ears that we may hear the deepest desires of our own hearts. And open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

you stand still and ask us,
“What do you want?”
We are still as well,
and give time
for our beggar hearts to answer.


            Psalm 34.1-8 – A paraphrase

Beloved, my heart pours into yours,
        and every word I say is your praise.
You are the song, and I am your singing.
        You are the hope of a heart stripped bare.
Our lives are a love song to you;
        our love is your glory let loose.

I opened myself to you
        and you received me.
You came between me and my fear.
        I wonder, with grateful awareness:
        how you radiate in me!
Mindful of you,
        I am free from shame.

My smallest voice cried out
        and you heard from within.
In my deepest trouble
        you held me.
The arms of your presence enfold me;
        they make my world.

O Beloved, all that I taste or see
        is your goodness.
Living in you
        is deep joy.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)

Christ Our Healer
Tune: Joyful, Joyful
Or: HOLY MANNA or Love Divine, All Loves Excelling)

Christ, our healer, you have touched us, reaching through the dark divide,
healing broken hearts and bodies, casting death’s old shroud aside:
raised us from our bed of sorrows, put your arm around our pain,
raising us to new tomorrows, bringing us to life again.

Christ, our teacher, in our healing you have given us your gift:
grace to bless, your love revealing, pow’r to heal and hope to lift.
In your Spirit, your forgiveness, your compassion we embrace
ev’ry wounded, shamed or silenced child of God with gentle grace.

Christ, our savior, you are going on to every town and field,
on to every land and people, on until the world is healed.
Use us in the whole world’s mending, use us as your healing hands,
’till as one the world, made whole, takes up its mat with joy and stands.

Jesus, My Healer
(Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)

Jesus, my healer, come to me and touch me;
lay your hand upon my soul.
All of my woundedness gently embrace and bless
and, though I’m broken, make me whole.

Source of our healing, God, our Re-Creator,
your deep joy is to raise and bless.
Your faithful promises and all our trusting hope
are stronger than our dark distress.

Spirit of healing, move among your people
to bear the blessing that flows from you:
with tender love to bless the world’s brokenness
and share the grace that made us new.

I am Listening [ Original song]

Speak, for I am listening.
My heart is open.
Speak, for I am listening,
open to your word

Please, I Want to See Anew [Original song]
[A dialogue between soloist and congregation]

Jesus, your brother, your Savior, says,
“What do you want me to do for you?”

Please, I want to see anew.
Jesus, please give me sight.
I want to see with the eyes of love.
I want to walk in the light.

Help us to see by the light of your grace,
aware of your presence, awake to you.

 Heal all our blindness, the eyes we close;
Give us the courage to look with love.

Teach us the ways of your heart, O God.
Show us your path, the Way of Love.

Wake Us From Our Sleep (Original song)

God of mercy, wake us with your light.
Rouse our sleeping hearts and give us sight.
Raise us up from death; fill us with your breath.
Wake us from our sleep to live new lives in you.

Life comes only from the Word you give.
You alone have power to make us live.
Seeking what is True, Love, we turn to you:
springs of living water flow, and so we live.

Christ, you touch our hearts and heal our fear.
Even in our pain your grace is near.
Spirit, you who save, raise us from our grave.
Born again, dry bones who rise, we live in you.

Christ, light of the world, your radiance bright
wakens us to day out of our night:
shining in, it heals; shining out, reveals.
Help us all to live as children of the light.

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