This Sunday is the Last after Trinity. The Gospel reading tells of how Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, cried out to Jesus to have mercy on him. Even though the crowds tried to shush Bartimaeus Jesus stopped in his journey, called Bartimaeus to him and asked him what he wishes Jesus to do for him. Bartimaeus asked to see again. Jesus responded, “Go, your faith has made you well.” With his sight restored, Bartimaeus did not go; instead, he followed Jesus on the way. (Mark 10: 46-52)
Before his encounter with Jesus, Bartimaeus was trapped in poverty, his life limited by his blindness. He had not seen the power of Jesus’ ministry but he could hear and listen to the word on the street, and from that he recognised Jesus as a great teacher who could and did transform his life. With the renewed sight of his physical and spiritual eyes, Bartimaeus was ready to begin again, following Jesus.
Today we do not have the opportunity to see Jesus in person like Bartimaeus, but we get to know him and learn the awesome news of his saving grace which has the power to transform lives everywhere, through hearing others speaking about Jesus and through reading the Bible. This Sunday is also known as Bible Sunday, an opportunity to be thankful for the gift of the story of God’s loving and recreative relationship with the world and humanity, and to recommit ourselves to reading, sharing and learning from the Bible. As the psalmist says,
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119: 130)
This Sunday is also an opportunity for us to think about how that Word is made accessible to those who are crying out for it and to those who have never heard of it. Some people are gifted at standing in crowded shopping malls to spread the word on the street, or at chatting about their faith at the bus stop or over a coffee. Others are more confident at sharing the Bible with school children through story telling activities like Open The Book or Godly Play. If this is not you, maybe you could help by supporting organisations like The Bible Society who translate the Bible into whatever language is needed and ensure copies are made available in places where it is hard to obtain. Or maybe we could begin on our own doorstep: The PCC of St Mary’s Church, Buckland, give each Year 6 child at Buckland School their own Good News Bible – perhaps we could help this happen in other schools too.
Let’s join together in getting the Word on the street.
Image taken by Lucy G, with thanks to Rob Lacey, author of the word on the street retelling of the Bible, and to Karen Beard and Rob Monacelli, for the cover photo and design.
Lacey, Rob, the word on the street, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003
The Bible Society https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/about-us/
If you are interested in being part of our Open The Book team, please contact Lucy on firstname.lastname@example.org