Tuesday, March 10, 2020

“Heart and Soul”

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…

The story of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52(also Matthew 20:29-34, Luke 18:35-43) describes an experience not just of healing but of God’s mercy.  Jesus, have mercy on me.  What does mercy mean?    Spare me, save me, deliver me from these circumstances, be kind, forgive me, show compassion here, Jesus. Treat me like the whole human being I am. Have mercy on me. And Jesus asks, What do you want me to do for you?  

Pretty straight forward isn’t it ?  Without hesitation, Bartimaeus names it, his deepest desire. Let me see again.  He envisions all of the benefits going from the beggar in the dust to the man with a whole new life ahead of him.  Because mercy when applied, when granted, when gifted, changes the status quo. Why do you think we pray “Lord hear and have mercy” in so many of our intercession litanies?  We are not telling God anything God doesn’t already know about, however eloquent our words. In so many situations both on the global scale and even in our personal lives, we feel inadequate, resigned, even helpless.  We want things to change or at least we want to want things to change. The New Testament Greek word that is usually translated as mercy is elios, coming from a root word meaning oil.  So we pray for God’s mercy to be poured out upon us, as pure pale green olive oil is poured from a jug. Kyrie Eleison. Hear us Lord, for your mercy is great. Lord, have mercy. Lord, change me. 

Now, if Jesus asked you “What do you want me to do for you?”  How would you answer? One thing. Yes, you could give God a whole ‘to do’ list and offer advice on priorities and details, but to name one thing. And would it be for yourself or for someone else, and in this case neither is more ‘humble’ than the other.   And is yours one of those souls who maintain, I never pray for myself? Why not?  Jesus did. Why not you?  Could it be because when your prayers are answered, it might involve some effort on your part…some change of lifestyle, or attitude or behaviour, or relationship?  Without a doubt!!  A blind beggar, dismissed as so much garbage by the world,  had to chance humiliation, ridicule and perhaps even injury at the hands of a rowdy crowd but he chose that risk.  He found the courage to shout out, to jump up and let the beggar’s cloak fall away, the old life, the old ways to fall away, the courage to meet Jesus face to face and cry ‘ mercy’. 

“What do you want me to do for you? “