I sought the Lord and he answered me; and delivered me out of all my terror.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
COLLECT FOR PURITY
to whom all hearts be open
all desires known
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SUMMARY OF THE LAW
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.
God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love because God loved us first.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.
God our Father, we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
sung by Sue Turner
O Lord, in your mercy:
grant to your faithful people pardon and peace;
that they may be cleansed from all their sins,
and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen
JOB 42:1-6,10-17 read by Kay Solaja
Job answered the LORD: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.” I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’
And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.
HEBREWS 7.23–28 read by Ron Beagrie
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently, he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
Mark 10:46-52 read by Rev Ann Wren
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 10 beginning at verse
Glory to Christ our Saviour.
As Jesus 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.
Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel
Praise to Christ our Lord
The cry of Bartimaeus “Have mercy on me” “have mercy upon me” could well echo the cries of many in our society today. With Javid warning that the predicted number of daily Covid cases could reach 100,000, there is within the hearts of many the cry for mercy- how long do we have to live with this threat? With the recent death of David Amess, there is the cry for mercy from politicians as they ask the question how can we best protect ourselves? There is the cry for mercy from many women as they seek greater safety following the murder of Sarah Everard. With flooding, drought and climate change there is a cry for mercy for our planet- scientists are asking how much time has humanity left? With millions of refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan, there is the cry for mercy, and the question raised is when will infighting, injustice and oppression cease?
Another question that is often asked is -Does God even hear these cries for mercy? We can take heart in today’s gospel reading that a vulnerable person, a blind man cries out for mercy and Jesus not only hears his cry for mercy, but he stops in his tracks and helps him. He asks him “what can I do for you?”- a wide open question. Jesus does not presume that he wants his sight. He gives him the dignity and respect that is afforded to others and graciously awaits his answer.
This open-ended question of Jesus reminded me of another question that was posed to Chris Smith who was at that time the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He was being interviewed for a high society magazine about what he wanted for Christmas. He thought about and decided that he would not ask for world peace but go for something small and tangible and so he said a small basket of glazed fruit. When the article was published in response to the question “What do you want for Christmas?”, the Rabbi said that for Christmas he wanted an end to nuclear weapons: the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that he wanted to get rid of poverty and the Secretary of State Chris Smith said that he wanted a small basket of glazed fruit. This open- ended question of Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you? encourages us like the Rabbi and Archbishop to think big, to aim high, to dream, to ask for what is beyond us.
When this question was asked of Bartimaeus, there was no hesitation, or pondering for he knew his response immediately to that question. Indeed, this is the moment like no other for Bartimaeus- Jesus is calling him. Bartimaeus seizes the moment- there is no time to lose and he draws close to Jesus. Have you ever had those moments- where you just know you have to seize them or they will slip you by? There is a film I love called ‘Dead Poet’s Society and in that film are the words ‘carpe diem’-seize the day, in other words take the opportunity when you can, don’t let it pass you by. This was Bartimaeus’ ‘carpe diem’ moment and he did not let it pass him by.
The healing of this blind man is unique in the New Testament for the warmth of its tone but more particularly for the fact that this is the only person healed by Christ in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, whose actual name is recorded, ‘Bartimaeus’, and also, incidentally, the name of his father. It is as though, by the time Mark wrote this gospel, this family were well known members of one of the Christian congregations, and Bartimaeus didn’t tire of recounting the events of that never to be forgotten day when he first saw the Lord. This is the last miracle of healing in Mark’s gospel, in fact the writer records just one more sign of Jesus. We love the account for the definiteness of its tone. We are told where it took place, in the beautiful city of Jericho, 18 miles north-east of Jerusalem.
We are told that Bartimaeus was a blind man, sitting by the roadside begging. What a combination of troubles! Bartimaeus was not partially sighted, he was blind. When his mother smiled a smile of encouragement, he could not see it; he could not glimpse the maternal love etched into his mother’s face. When a pile of ox dung lay in his path, he could not see to step across it. He could not see the ditch, the low-hanging branch, the angry dog. When the night sky above Jericho was bright with a million stars it was all darkness to him. At night when he closed his eyes and, in the morning when he opened them again it was all alike utter blackness.
Bartimaeus was not only blind, he was impoverished. There have always been those born blind, whom providence has put in loving affluent homes, whose parents have cared for them, and encouraged their education so that they have risen to the highest positions of responsibility. Consider our former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, what a remarkable man, utterly blind, yet he became one of the senior members of the government. He is not carrying a sign and sitting in Regent Street begging for money, but this man Bartimaeus was, the blind pauper of Jericho begging for food or pennies to survive, listening for the approaching footsteps of people and crying to them for alms. He had nothing to sell; he didn’t have anything to lose. He was utterly dependent on others. More than that, Bartimaeus was marginalised and side-lined, “sitting by the roadside,” He was not involved in running the affairs of Jericho; he was not on the local P.T.A.; he was not running for office in the council elections; he did not sit with the wise men at the gate hearing disputes and passing on his wisdom; he was considered an illiterate outsider.
He may well have been seen as an illiterate outsider but he was knowledgeable in his awareness of who Jesus was. Bartimaeus referred to Jesus as the Son of David. Bartimaeus lived in Judah steeped in the history of his nation. He lived 18 miles from King David’s great city, Jerusalem. He knew something about this one who was the greatest of all the kings of Judah, to whom God had made this promise. Bartimaeus had heard all these stories about Jesus, and he added to them all the bits of knowledge he had gained from his knowledge of the Scriptures.
But more than that, Bartimaeus cried to the Son of David these words, “Have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus had developed his own inner world, and a contemplative thoughtful spirit. He knew his need of Jesus at various levels, and he knew Jesus could meet that need. You might say that he had quite an inadequate conception of Jesus- Son of David- that was a messianic title, with the thought of a conquering Messiah who would bring Israel to national greatness. It was an inadequate idea of Jesus, but in spite of it all Bartimaeus had faith and faith plugged the holes, so to speak, in his theology. We may not get our theology right but we can have faith which moves mountains.
Bartimaeus had great persistence- not one to give up easily. There was little encouragement from the Jerichico-ites when he cried to Jesus. On the contrary, we are told that “Many rebuked him;” they told the old beggar to be quiet: “Shut up you fool.” Bartimaeus was not to be stopped. Bartimaeus was utterly determined to meet the one person whom he longed to tell his troubles to. He didn’t have some vague, wistful, sentimental wish to see Jesus. He was absolutely desperate to meet him. He didn’t care if familiar grumbling voices from the know-alls of Jericho told him to shut up, “he shouted all the more.”
“Have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus cried. “Have mercy on me!” That was his only plea and he would not be silenced though many rebuked him. It was now or never with him. If he didn’t get his eyes opened now, it would not happen later for Jesus was heading to Jerusalem where Bartimaeus knew many hated him – this information he had gleaned as he sat and listened to people walking up and down the streets of Jericho. So Bartimaeus persisted with his prayer.
We are told that Jesus stood still – that is what the word ‘stopped’ means. The cries of a poor worthless man were enough to cause the Maker of the universe to stop in his tracks. Jesus had time for him. The crowd just shouted at him to shut his mouth, but Jesus stopped what he was doing. Jesus stood for Bartimaeus. He stands for us.. he calls us .. he is willing to give us his full attention. “Call him!” said Jesus. There were hundreds there but Jesus singled him out.
Jesus was ready to give him his wholehearted attention and love. In all his loving particularity Jesus’ grace fell that day on Bartimaeus who was crying out to him, “Have mercy upon me!”
“Call him!” said Christ. So, we are told, “they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! on your feet! He’s calling you’” “On your feet! He is calling you!” Look at the alacrity of Bartimaeus’ reply. He’s out of the starting blocks, on his feet and off he goes. His response is immediate and eager, so eager that he cast off his hindering cloak to get to Jesus more quickly. His cloak would be precious but he risks leaving it behind. His cloak would have been spread out to receive the money that people dropped before him. Away with any hindrance! What were those shekels in comparison to coming into the presence of Jesus of Nazareth! Certain opportunities come just once in a lifetime and he knew that this was one of them. Bartimaeus came to Jesus.
‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus said to him.” Here was the very heart of the matter, what does this man want from God? Why had Bartimaeus called on Jesus? Why had a blind beggar shouted at the King of the Universe? Did he want a hand-out? How much, or how little, did he believe that Jesus could do for him? “What do you want me to do for you?” What would your response this morning be to that very question posed by Jesus to you? What do you want me to do for you? Jesus question asks Bartimaeus if he wants to remain a victim or has he got his eyes set on something far better? Do you, Bartimaeus, want to give up begging? Do you want to live differently, to work for a living, to have no reason to sit by the roadside all day whining at passers-by?
No hesitation or need for any pondering Bartimaeus knew exactly what he wanted…Rabbi I want to see. Go,’ said Jesus, ‘Your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. At the end of this story there is a precious touch. Bartimaeus may have been a beggar by the wayside but he was a man of gratitude. Having received his sight, he followed Jesus. He did not selfishly go on his way when his need was met. He began with need, went on to gratitude, and finished with loyalty- in many ways that is the steps of discipleship.
Jesus is calling out to you and me this morning – he is calling out to us all-what is hindering us from approaching and drawing close to him- guilt, worry, fear, anger, riches – throw it away and come and draw close to Jesus who is calling you personally by name. This is a ‘carpe diem’ moment- will you take it? What will you reply to Jesus’ question – what do you want me to do for you? This is an opened- ended question which we are encouraged to answer with confidence in his holy presence. Do you have a specific need for yourself or family or is there a bigger world issue that you would like to see resolved? As we receive by faith the gifts God gives us, we in turn offer to Jesus, like Bartimaeus, our gifts of gratitude, loyalty, and discipleship, knowing that Jesus gives his full attention to our cries for mercy and lovingly longs for the best for us. Amen
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
As children of our heavenly Father,
trusting in his will and in his capacity
to care for us all, let us pray.
We pray for all Pastoral Care in the Church,
for the ministries of listening and supporting;
the sharing of grief; the freeing from guilt.
We pray for the grace to accompany others
to your healing love.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to care for others.
We pray that you will help us,
with the literal blindness
that there is in the world today.
Thank you for the great work of Sightsavers,
acting as a charity to prevent blindness,
in some poorer parts of our world.
Bless their ministry
and use them to save the sight of many.
We think too of our blindness to the needs of the world.
We ask you will open our eyes to the real urgency
of protecting our environment
and preventing climate change.
We think of Cop 26 in Glasgow
and pray for a fruitful meeting of nations
to bring about healing of your creation.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to heal your world.
We pray for the healing of the nations;
for the recognition of our need of you,
and a turning away from all that is evil.
We pray for all in authority and worldly power
that they might be listen to you
and be guided along the right paths of peace and justice.
Be with the authorities in Afghanistan
and help them see how they can serve
all people, especially women and children in their land.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to be guided in your ways.
We pray for those today
who are crying out like Bartimaeus,
to be heard and seen.
We lift to you those voices that are not heard,
and where injustice occurs.
We pray for the work of Amnesty International,
thinking especially of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe,
grant her and others like her, courage, strength and hope.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to strive for justice.
We pray for those whose lives are caught up,
in the darkness of worry and depression,
in the darkness of illness and infirmity,
in the darkness of stress and debt,
in the quiet we lift them to you.
God of the impossible come and
touch those named with your grace, love and strength
and meet them and strengthen them at their point of need.
We ask that you will bring light into their darkness,
and open their eyes to the possibility of hope and change.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to see as you see.
We pray for those whose eyes have closed to this earthly life
that they may know the joy and brightness of heaven.
We pray for those who are mourning the loss of a loved one
and for those for whom this month is an anniversary of a death.
Draw near and enfold them in your love and peace.
What do you want me to do for you?
Lord we want to comfort others.
We thank you, heavenly Father,
for drawing us to you
and stretching out your arms of love
to us in welcome.
Open our eyes to see the needs of others
and help us to give them
our undivided attention and care.
Merciful Father accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who taught us to pray together..
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:
and the blessing of God the Father,
the Son and Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen
Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.