On Sunday, we were exploring the meeting between Bartimaeus and Jesus on the outskirts of Jericho.
A few pages back in the Gospel of Mark, the disciples try to stop the children approaching Jesus. This time, as they leave the town of Jericho, the disciples and a large crowd try to shut down someone they believe should stay in darkness... Picking up on those themes, as I was reading Psalm 3 today...
A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom...
O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me,
‘There is no help for you in God.’
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of tens of thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people!
Bless the ones, O Lord, who are told 'no, he is not your God,'
the ones, like Bartimaeus, who sit at the side of the road
and who are told 'Shhhh!' by those who call themselves your followers.
But bless also the ones who are fearful that your grace is limited -
that there's not enough to share with all -
the ones who would deny that grace to others;
overcome fear with loving-kindness,
the desire for power with self-giving.
Teach us anew that there are different ways of seeing,
of being in the light;
and different ways of choosing darkness,
of remaining in the night.
Give strength to those whose heads are bent low from exclusion;
instil hope in hearts grown heavy with despair
in the face of a host of nay-sayers.
Sustain those grown weary from the doctrine wars,
and challenge those who would try to micro-manage
who you would allow into your kin-dom.
Shine light onto the pathways of peace and reconciliation -
that your love be shared with all,
that in your love, all are valued,
that through your love, all are delivered safely home to you -
for deliverance belongs to you, and no other.
Bless us and challenge us,
this day and always. Amen