Let’s get it straight: Living God’s way in the world is not for the faint-hearted. Our readings in the next few weeks challenge our discipleship, calling to its very foundations. We are invited to face our prejudice, to analyze our motives for doing good, to reflect on our seemingly endless capacity for conflict, to observe our desire for status, as well as our murmuring and moaning against God when the least thing upsets our way of doing things. And as they say in the movies, "We’re the good guys!"
Most of us suffer from spiritual blindness. Bartimaeus, who was blind, called out to Jesus, but before Jesus could restore his sight he had to find out if that is what Bartimaeus wanted— "What do you want me to do for you?" "That I may receive my sight," he replied. Let’s get it straight: What do you want me to do for you? is the same question Jesus asks of us.
Face Your Prejudice
Psalm 125; Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:1-17; Mark 7:24-37
Do not let class distinction enter into your faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord (James 2:1). The lectionary readings today contain a litany of directions and leave us in no doubt about our behavior toward the poor and oppressed. The selection of Proverbs concludes with the command, "Do not despoil the weak...and do not oppress the poor...for the Lord God takes up their cause and [rather more uncomfortably] extorts the life of their extortioners" (Proverbs 22:22-23). The psalm, one which reflects people’s trust in time of suffering, also calls on God to "do good to those who are good....But the crooked, the twisted, turn them away with evildoers" (Psalm 125:4-5).