46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher,let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
I have always had a voice or so I hear. Each family has stories that are passed on at family gatherings. We tell the story of that one time when….or when so and so did that…or our childhood stories. A story that I have heard about myself all my life is about how much I cried…loudly…as a baby. I cried on car trips, in restaurants, at family events. I was a crier. A loud crier. In fact, it was so bad at a restaurant once that a stranger held me so that my parents might eat one time. I cried all the way to Medford and back. I cried. I was loud. I feel as though I probably had something to say.
I have then always been a talker and I am loud when I don’t think something is right. I guess when I was a toddler I would put my hands on my hips and say to my mom, “Oneen.” with a disapproving look. My mom’s name is Eileen. I must have thought it would have more impact if I used her first name instead of mom. I even told people with stubborn admittance that my name was “Ortney Zipzip Cackle” instead of Courtney Elizabeth McHill. I had something to say from a young age and made sure people heard it.
I would like to say that I have become shy and demure but from an early age my parents have taught me to be strong and to speak out. I have not shied away from conflict or when it becomes clear that something might need to be said. I have learned a lot about speaking out as well…when it works and when it doesn’t. When I am naive and too optimistic. When I am too cynical or it is not the right time. There is definitely a place for timing.
The scripture this morning shows that sometimes even Jesus needs to be called out every once in a while by his disciples. Bartimaeus is in need and would have been looked over if he had just gone about his day. Jesus wasn’t paying attention to anyone at this point and doesn’t listen the first time. Bartimaeus has to be persistent. He has something to say and now is the time to do it. He can’t shy away. He has to stand up for what he needs from this healer who is in his midst. This is his chance. What I love about this story is that the blind man MUST continue to call out until he is heard. He usually doesn’t have a voice. He is marginalized even by Jesus in this story. But once he his heard, he is completely heard. He is healed. He becomes a follower and continues to be a voice for the voiceless by being heard and by becoming a disciple. When we have a voice, we have a responsibility to speak up for the ones who might be overlooked. If we have something to say, let it be heard and then let us stand for those who can’t be heard, even Jesus needs this reminder every once in a while.
How will you be a voice? Where do you need to be heard? What timing are you seeing play out? Has God heard your cry? How will you get God to hear you today? Go ahead…God can handle it….