The Bartimaeus sermon has turned into a story.
I was struck by the similarities and differences between Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) and the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-18). They tell us a lot about prayer and healing, and our involvement. They tell us (surprisingly) that God answers our prayers whether they are prayed earnestly with desperate determination, or fearfully, uncertain about what we want.
I was also struck by the fact that Bartimaeus had a choice. He was set free; Jesus said to him, “Go.” He was free to go where he liked. He chose instead to follow Jesus. His prayer didn’t come out of a relationship with Jesus, but it certainly led to one. It strikes me that God is much more interested in our prayers than we are perhaps, and he is certainly far more interested in our talking to him than in our use of special words and formulae. People often ask, “Are we allowed to pray for this or pray like that?” My response is, just pray. The more we talk with God the more natural the conversation will become, because what is natural for me may not be natural for you.
What emerged from my preparation for Sunday was a story; a story about Bartimaeus and his cousin Samuel, the guy from the pool of Bethesda. You didn’t know they were cousins, or that his name was Samuel, did you? Well there you are. I’ll post it to the blog for those who can’t get to Prestbury Methodist Church on Sunday morning, but you’ll have to be patient; it’ll happen over the weekend sometime.
Do come back and let me know what you think.