The Cold Springer - Week of October 28th, 2018
Sunday, October 28, 2018 - Morning Prayer
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!”
The majority of biblical commentators over the years have - and preachers this Sunday will - focus on the disciples, their inclination to silence Bartimaeus and Jesus’ response to the blind man's outcry. You can ask yourself: How are you like the disciples? How can you be more like Jesus? It’s a worthwhile exercise. We often assume that we know what God wants us to do; and in these assumptions we miss opportunities to manifest God’s grace. Sometimes, like the disciples in this vignette, we may even reject such opportunities. To be like Jesus, we need to listen and respond to the needs presented, not the ones we fancy.
But, in my humble opinion, the character that is most representative of parent’s experience is Bartimaeus himself. Both of my girls wake up wailing in their room, right as I am falling asleep: “Jesus, have mercy!” Both girls have ear infections: “Jesus, have mercy!” Another school holiday? “Jesus, have mercy!” Is that a turd in the tub? “Jesus, have mercy!”
As parents, especially ones who would love to attend church every Sunday if we could (pesky kids), we may often feel that Jesus and the rest of the gang are passing us by, heading someplace special where there is plenty of fish and bread to eat. In our desire to be good parents - to raise faithful, thoughtful and brave children - how often do we feel blind, arms outstretched, groping and desperate? If you’re like me, then often. But how often do we cry out to the Lord? Really cry out with the expectation of being answered?
If we believe in Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our point of view and even our lives, like Bartimaeus we can call him by name and relation: “Jesus, Son of David…” We can call him to pour out his love into us giving us what we need, not what we fancy: “Have mercy on me.”
Yours in Christ!
The Reverend Jesse Lebus
This week’s Godly Play lesson is The Exodus. Our Children’s Chapel gang loves when we use the sandbox to tell stories about God’s people in the desert. God was with the people when they “went out” (the literal meaning of the word exodus) from slavery into freedom through the water. The People of God have looked back to this time to sustain them when God is hidden and they feel lost. For the Jews, especially, the Feast of Passover keeps alive this core event. For Christians, Baptism reawakens this event, especially when commemorated in the Easter Vigil, celebrated on the eve of Easter by some denominations.
In these stories, we continue to evoke the People’s experiences of God’s elusive presence. These moments of high drama reveal the complexity of such experiences and provide a narrative of their richness. This not only gives children an appropriate language to name, express and value their own experiences but also permission to talk aloud about them.
Elements of Faith
In this week’s Elements of Faith class, students will engage in the Gospel lesson, where blind Bartimaeus is granted his sight by Jesus Christ. After reviewing the lesson in a cartoon, students will have a discussion around some questions. Why do you think Bartimaeus was sitting by the road? Why do you think Bartimaeus called Jesus "Son of David?" What is interesting about the question Jesus asks Bartimaeus? What does Bartimaeus do when he discovers he can see? They will finish the class by making a craft where blind Bartimaeus gains his sight.
St. John’s Memorial Cemetery
6pm - 8pm
Join us for our annual stroll at the St. John's Memorial Cemetery: one mile west of the church and across the road on 25A. Children of all ages can show off their costumes, watch a skit from St. John's Grave Diggers and meet some really nice ghosts... plus have a slice of pizza and (of course) get some candy.
Though it may seem a bit sacrilegious, our Halloween traditions do have some Christian connection. Halloween precedes and is closely linked to two consecutive days on our Christian Calendar: All Saints Day on November 1st and All Souls Day on the 2nd. We remember our beloved deceased - those who came before us - on those days.
Our parade is a good natured and imaginative front line defense against the ghoulies and bad spirits that are pestering those righteous souls interred in our beloved cemetery. For more information on the history of trick-or-treating, read this brief article from the Smithsonian Magazine's website.