Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost: Week of October 24, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Gracious God, your blessing comes in many forms. Give us the courage to ask for help, and open our hearts to help those who need it. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is BLESS. In this story, Bartimaeus receives a blessing after reaching out to Jesus for help. When have you asked Jesus for help? What happened? When have you blessed others by helping them in their time of need?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Mark 10:46-52
Reflect: Today, people who are blind often use a cane to help them walk and make sure they don’t bump into anything. They learn to read a special kind of writing called braille. The blind man in this story did not have anyone to help him, and so he had to beg for food in order to eat. When the man heard Jesus walking by, he asked for help from Jesus, and Jesus healed him. The man’s life must have been much different after that. All he had to do was ask.
Just like Jesus does in this story, God can help you. Without the love and help of other people, we’d feel lost. It might be a bit like being the blind man in the story who didn't have anyone to help.
You might want to pray when you are feeling sad or afraid, and you may feel better. Many times, God helps us through the people in our lives. Every time a family member or friend gives us a hug, or tells us they love us, that’s God loving us, too. It’s important to ask for help from God and the people who love you.
Respond: Cover your eyes with a blindfold or a hat. Now have an adult lead you around the room. Don’t peek! Imagine trying to go around the room without any help. You’d probably run into all sorts of things. Now have the adult cover their eyes. Lead them around the room, and make sure not to let them bump into anything. We all help each other.
- Jeremiah Sierra
Adult and Elementary
Read: Mark 10:46-52
Reflect: Bartimaeus cries out even when the people near him try to shush him. They are embarrassed, maybe, by how loud he is. Or maybe they’ve judged him unworthy of attention. But Bartimaeus doesn’t let that bother him. He keeps calling out, even more loudly. Are there times when you have been shushed? Or, when you have shushed someone else?
Sometimes, if we want to be noticed, we have to call out. No one can read our minds, and it’s up to us to make our needs known. What kind of blessing o you need today? Do you need help with a chore or an extra hug? Do you need someone to stop and listen to you awhile?
Bartimaeus teaches us that it is holy and good to ask for what we need. Jesus hears Bartimaeus, and gives him healing – gives him what he is crying out for. How has God met your needs today or given you a blessing?
Respond: Practice being like Bartimaeus by asking for what you need. Maybe you’re struggling with a problem and need someone to listen, and help you work it through. Maybe you need help getting something done. Take turns with someone else – maybe a parent, or a sibling, or a friend – being Bartimaeus, and asking for help. Then switch. How does it feel to ask for help? How does it feel to bless someone else by helping them?
- Jazzy Bostock
Adult and Youth
Read: Mark 10:46-52
Reflect: There are polite rules that Jesus didn’t seem to care about. Here are some of them:
- Talking about needs or problems is embarrassing, and you shouldn’t make other people uncomfortable.
- Don’t be loud and try to get attention.
- REALLY don’t try to get attention if it’s about your embarrassing problems.
Sometimes people feel ashamed of disabilities— that was true in Jesus’ time, and unfortunately, it can still be true. Jesus is not even a little bit ashamed of anyone’s disabilities, though. Jesus doesn’t ask Bartimaeus to be quiet. Jesus sees and hears him when he speaks his need. Even better, Jesus stands still. He doesn’t keep walking; he doesn’t wave as he passes by. He stops and focuses entirely on that loud, unruly man.
All through the Gospels Jesus rewards people for doing outrageous things. How can we possibly become a Beloved Community if we don’t let people tell us their needs, if we don’t listen to the urgency of their request? Community is not a place where no one bothers anyone. Community is a place where we hear and respond to one another.
Respond: Writer and theologian David Ausberger says that “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” Has anyone listened to you like that? When we talk about blessings, we often refer to words that we speak, but we also bless people by hearing them— even and especially when what they’re saying is painful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable. And beautifully, this is a blessing that flows in multiple directions. This week, be as brave as Bartimaeus in letting people hear your needs. Stand still like Jesus to bless others by hearing them. Whether you’re speaking up or listening, God is with you.
- Di McCullough
Adult and Adults
Read: Mark 10:46-52
Reflect: Have you or someone you know heard that awful dreaded “c” word: cancer? Or maybe another diagnosis? During these difficult times, it is hard to trust in God. We struggle to know if ourselves or our loved one will be healed. As a result, we find ourselves even more bringing our cares and concerns before God. Yet God often does not answer our prayers the way we would wish. In fact, God blesses us beyond measuring during these times. In this text, the blind man brings his own concerns before Jesus and asks Jesus to heal him. Jesus simply replies by stating, “your faith has made you well.” (Mark 10:52, NRSV) Our faith does not always heal us in the ways we would intend, but God accompanies us during these challenges. God shows us that our faith is a gift to us and blesses us especially during difficult times in our lives. Like Jesus blessed the blind man, Jesus blesses us too!
Respond: Bless! Reflect on this question: Where have you seen God blessing yourself? Your family? Keep a list of those blessings. Each week, continue to add to the list. At the end of the year, reflect on the many ways God has blessed your family this year. Also make sure to keep a list of those prayer concerns within your faith community. At the end of the week, share your weekly blessings with each other. Then at the end of the day, mark the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead saying, “Jesus loves you and so do I!”
- Tara Ulrich