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Sermon for the Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost

Oct 28, 2018

Passage: Mark 10:46-52

Preacher: Rob Donehue

Series: Sermons for Year B (2017-2018)

Category: Sermons for Year B (2017-2018)

Detail:

Sermon for the Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (2018)
October 28, 2018
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church (Lackey Chapel at CCU)

Job 42:1-6, 10-17        Hebrews 7:23-28        Mark 10:46-52

 

I have two stories for us this morning. 

Once upon a time, a child was born to a young couple in the city of Jericho. On the day of his birth, there was gladness and joy. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends all began to plan excitedly for the naming ceremony that would take place eight days later. The child’s father, whose name was Timaeus, was bursting with pride. His firstborn child was also a son; the first, he hoped, of many. 

But on the day of the naming ceremony, Timaeus was attacked and killed while he was on his way to the synagogue by a man whose heart was filled with cruelty and hate. When the child’s mother heard the news, she could not speak; so deep was her grief… So on the day of the naming ceremony, no one was able to name the child. And from that day forward, to symbolize the emptiness left in the wake of human cruelty and hate, the child was known only as “the son of Timaeus.” Because tradition held that a son must also be known by his father’s name, the child became known as “the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus.” 

The son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus had a happy childhood growing up in Jericho. He delighted to learn the stories of his people - of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebecca, of Joseph and Pharaoh, of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, of King David and his adventures…his favorite story, though, was of Joshua and the famous battle where the walls came tumbling down. He and his friends would sometimes play near the city walls where Roman guards were stationed, and they would pretend that they were blowing trumpets. Usually the guards would laugh and then tell the children to run home.  

But one day, one of the guards decided that the children needed to be taught a lesson, so when they came near the wall, the guard whose heart was full of cruelty and hate caught ahold of the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus, threw dirt in his face, and rubbed it into his eyes. As a result of this cruelty and hatred, the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus went blind. 

With no way to support himself, he soon wound up on the streets. Forced to beg for his bread because of the unchecked cruelty of the world, on the streets, he discovered that the world’s cruelty was far worse than he had imagined. Day after day, he was insulted and ridiculed. Sometimes he was physically assaulted. Even his fellow beggars would sometimes attack him and take what little money he had been given. Because he was blind and penniless, he knew that he was at the mercy of a heartless world, so he longed to be able to see again so that he could earn his way in the world. But at times he was actually glad he was blind - because that meant he did not have to see just how terrible the world’s cruelty and hate could be.

For years, the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus, lived this way. Then one day, he heard people talking about a certain man, Jesus. And the people seemed to think that he might be the messiah, the descendant of King David who would restore all things and usher in an age of righteousness. At first, the news sounded far-fetched. Just another charismatic charlatan in a world full of them; probably only using people’s hopes to cheat them out of their last penny. But he kept hearing about things that Jesus was doing; hearing about how this Jesus was even restoring sight to the blind. 

So when he heard that Jesus was coming near to where he was, the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus, decided to take a risk. So he summoned all his strength and cried out: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy! Save me!” 

“I who am a beggar, I call to you who are a king: Have mercy! Save me!

I, whose name is proof that the world is cruel, appeal to your name for mercy. Save me!

I who have nothing - not even a name of my own - I call out to you by your name and your father David’s name: Save me!”

He did not know that his voice would be heard, but he strained with all his might and risked the anger of the crowd so that his pleas would be heeded. 

And for taking this risk, the son of Timaeus, the son of Timaeus, was granted his sight. 

—-

Once upon a time, a child was born to a young couple in the city of Pittsburgh. On the day of the child’s birth, there was gladness and joy. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends all began to plan excitedly for the naming ceremony that would take place eight days later. The child’s parents were bursting with pride, and they were filled with hope that the child would grow up safely in a world that had turned its back on cruelty and hatred.  

But on the day of the naming ceremony, their synagogue was attacked by someone whose heart was full of cruelty and hatred. When the rest of the nation heard the news, they could not speak; so deep was their shame…So on the day of the naming ceremony, no one was able to name the child. And from that day forward, the child was simply known as “child of the times.” And the child grew up in a blind world. Grew up in a world blinded by bitterness and enmity and lust for power and domination over others. Grew up in a world so beset by blindness that many did not even understand that they were wandering in darkness.  

And even though the child could see - could see the beauty and wonder of the world - and longed to sing and rejoice in the goodness of God’s gifts, most of those around her said that she was full of youthful illusions that would soon disappear once she realized that, true to her name, she really was a child of the times.  

Yet still she clung to the hope that somehow salvation was possible. That somehow the world could be made to see again. And this child of the times learned from her faith to cry out:   

“God, have mercy! Save us!” 

“I, whose name is proof that the world is cruel, I appeal to your name for mercy. Save us!

I who do not have even a name of my own - I call out to you by your holy name: Save us!”

The child of the times does not know that her voice will be heard, but she strains with all her might and risks the anger of the crowd so that her pleas will be heeded. 

And for taking this risk, will the child of the times be granted her prayer? 

That’s up to us. 

We each have a choice about what our part is in this story. We can try to silence the voices of the children of the times. Or we can lift up our voices in the same cry:
Have mercy! God save us! 

God save us!