Sermons 2006
"Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Proper 25B 2006 Mark 10:46-52

"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." This is a truism from someone named Anias Nin, who is listed on Google as a small Arkansas town Confused, Depressed, Slightly Paranoid, Anxiety-Prone 36 year old female Psychology student. .... But it seems to fit today’s gospel lesson -- I think.. And we’ll explore some ways of seeing, largely through telling stories, some old – mostly old – and some new.

About this time of year some thirteen years ago in the last month of my diaconate, the new deacons in the Diocese of Virginia spent a 24 hour retreat on the grounds of the National Cathedral where we were ordained priest a month later. One of the retreat leaders was a very successful businessman and very active churchman. He had felt a call to the priesthood in his early twenties while in college and was in his middler year when he went to England for a summer’s study. He was invited to preach at one of the famous old parish churches in London near the Thames River.

He was a bright young man, convinced that he would spend the minimum time as a priest before some luck diocese recognized his great talent and elected hi its bishop. And he was sure, as he started his climb up the steps of the very high pulpit, that his sermon would be the very finest ever preached, not only in that parish, not only in London, but in all of England.

When he reached to top of the stairs and started to spread out his sermon notes on the pulpit lectern he saw a hand written note taped there. He read it and was struck dumb on the spot. The note was simple: only five words: “Sir, we would see Jesus.” In that moment, he realized that he had confused his ego with a call to ordination. After he recovered from the experience, he saw he was called to pursue other things in God’s service.

Seeing as in, “Aha, I see; now I see”, comprehension, understanding, dawning realization, sudden grasp of the truth. This is the sort of seeing that struck Saint Paul on the Damascus road, knocking him to the ground and blinding him until later the scales fell from his eyes and he could see, understand, comprehend, realize the wrong he had been doing in persecuting Christians, seeing that in this he was persecuting Christ, and seeing that henceforth his task was to spread the good news. A true “Aha! Now I see!” moment. This is the kind of seeing that the disciples had after the Resurrection and ascension of their Lord.

The Greek word used in Mark’s story of blind Bartimaeus combines elements of this sort of seeing. But it is more literal physical seeing. Bartimaeus in his blindness saw with the eyes of faith that Jesus was the Son of David, someone special and different. And likewise he saw that Jesus could heal his physical blindness. But that is as far as Mark takes the analogy. When Bartimaeus is no longer blind – that is, when he is healed and his physical sight is literally restored – anablepo-- what he sees is not a new insight in faith – ha had that already. But what he saw was physical: the face of Jesus. And it was enough – he followed Jesus on the way to Jerusalem and the Cross.

There are all sorts of ways of seeing beyond these two. Just one more in one last story:

Do you remember what it was like to be in the third grade. Can you see yourself in this story somewhere? There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop. He cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened to him before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The little boy thinks his heart is going to stop. So he puts his head down and prays: "Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat."

He looks up from his prayer to see the teacher coming with a look in her eyes that says it’s all over. But out of nowhere it seems a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl with water. Susie trips and the bowl of water winds up upside down in the boy's lap.

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is
saying to himself, "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!"

Now all of a sudden, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the
other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy for the boy is wonderful.

But the ridicule that would have been his has been transferred to Susie. She tries to help clean up but they tell her to get out. “You've done enough, you klutz! Go away."

Finally, at the end of the day, as they wait for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" And Susie whispers back, "I wet my pants once too."

God always puts opportunities in front of our eyes to do good and to carry out random acts of kindness. We have only to look and see them in all senses of the word. (BR>

Wicomico Parish Church
PO Box 70
Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579