Taste and see that the Lord is gracious

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Last Sunday Tini spoke to us about Bartimaeus, a blind man who, unable to work for a living, was forced to beg on the outskirts of the town of Jericho. Being afflicted by such an illness or disability was viewed at that time as a punishment from God for a sin committed by the individual or a parent.

Upon hearing that Jesus was passing close by; Bartimaeus became very agitated and shouted out to Jesus. When many in the crowd admonished him and tried to silence him he cried out all the louder. Bartimaeus recognized Jesus as the Messiah, teacher and healer. He was desperate to get his attention, as he firmly believed Jesus could heal him. Jesus hears the shouting, sees beyond the prejudice and spiritual blindness of the crowd and asks for the man to be brought to him. He sees Bartimaeus as a human individual created in God’s image and loved by God. He says to Bartimaeus “your faith has healed you”, upon which Bartimaeus’ vision is restored. Blind Bartimaeus went out begging each day to fulfill his day to day basic needs, but his encounter with Jesus fulfilled his greatest needs.

Tini invited us to delve into the story as an outsider looking in, and this is what I love doing with Bible texts. I was struck by the sensory nature of the passage. Bartimaeus cannot see, but has an acute sense of hearing. He feels his way around town with his stick and his hands and probably those around him can smell his cloak as he approaches them. The crowd is pressing against Jesus who is walking through Jericho on this way to Jerusalem. Jesus hears Bartimaeus’ shouts  in the distance and has a strong awareness of his need.

Somehow, this reminded me of the passage in Genesis where God walks in the garden in the cool of the day:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:8-10 (NIV)

Here too, we can sense the atmosphere:  a cool breeze wafting at the end of a hot day, leaves rustling in the wind, the smell of the flowers and the buzz of insects. An aura of contentment seems to surround God as he walks through the beautiful garden and calls out to Adam to share in his delight. Whereas Bartimaeus turns towards Jesus and recognizes him as Messiah, teacher and healer. Adam closes his ears, turns away from God and hides.

This set me wondering. How do I respond to the call of Jesus? Do I make enough room for him in my life? Do I take time to listen to his calling out to me? Do I take time to walk and talk with him? Or do I hide in my busyness and my oh so important activities?

Tini also spoke about Jesus having supremacy over the priesthood.  In Colossians we read:

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Collosians 1:17-20 (NIV)

Jesus is unsullied by sin, reconciler, redeemer, peacemaker. He brings together all things on earth and in heaven, not just humans, but all creatures and plants in his creation.

Maybe this week I can not only make time to talk with Jesus in prayer, but encounter him in people, in the beautiful autumnal scenery we see around us and find peace and harmony, knowing I am truly loved and cherished.

Taste and see that the Lord is gracious.

Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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