October 28, 2018: On the Way

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

Immediately Bartimaeus “regained his sight and followed [Jesus] on the way” (Mark 10:52).

The Gospels tell many stories about Jesus healing someone. Some give thanks; many do not. Some follow Jesus; many do not. This man who was healed, Bartimaeus, chose to follow Jesus “on the way.”

The early Christians were called followers of the Way. The Way was the new Way of living that Jesus talked about and showed in his own life, the new Way of living that Jesus invited persons to make their own as they came along with him.

The next story in the Gospel of Mark is Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the start of a week that will show the Way of Jesus—the Way of giving himself, the Way of loving even the enemies working for his death and the friends who run away or deny him. The good news we celebrate when we gather every week is that Jesus does something for us. Jesus responded to the loud cry of Bartimaeus, “Have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48). Jesus responds to our cries. But the good news we celebrate every week is also that Jesus invites us into a community with a new Way of living, a Way that finds God at work in our world, a Way that finds hope even amid the cynicism and despair of our time.

Bartimaeus had been blind; now he saw. I know of one congregation that at prayer time invites worshipers to share not their thanksgivings and their concerns, but their “kingdom sightings,” those situations where they sense God is doing something new or inviting us to see God’s working and to become part of it.

May all of us who claim to be Jesus-followers be able to see God at work in our daily world.

Hermann Weinlick, retired pastor, Minneapolis, Minnesota