Monday, August 9, 2010

How joyful are you?

Would you consider yourself a joyful person? Would those around you describe you that way? This week's Bible lesson is about God as Soul and focuses on joy as a quality of Soul that we all express as God's image and likeness. Along with joy, the qualities of Soul include true hearing and sight which are as immortal as God.

There is a very interesting example from the New Testament. In the gospel of Mark (which many consider to be Peter's memoirs) Jesus and his disciples are leaving the city of Jericho. So this is an eye witness report. As usual there is a large crowd of people surrounding the Master. As this procession goes by a blind man, Bartimaeus, he hears the commotion and must have asked what was going on. When he is told that it Jesus is passing, he begins to call out to him and asking for mercy.

Bartimaeus considered himself both blind and poor, as did those around him. He had chosen the spot on the highway to sit and beg. He had been doing that for some time. He seems to have accepted this, until an opportunity arises to change things. Had he been hearing about what this man could do? Did he have faith that Jesus could heal his condition? He must have believed it was possible for he continued to call out to him, even when those around him told him to hold his peace. Those sincere call for help did not go unanswered. Jesus stopped. The whole parade halted. Then he commanded that they call Bartimaus to him. Now those around the blind man changed their tune and encouraged him to be of good comfort and go to Jesus.

The account does not say that anyone led him. It says he got up, cast aside his beggar's garment, and went to the Master. When Jesus asks him what he wants, he asks that his sight be restored. Jesus tells him that his faith has made him whole and immediately he could see.

What I am appreciating about this story this morning is that casting away of his false identity, his conscious choice to not be seen as a beggar any longer. Is there something going on in your life that you have accepted as a limitation? Are you identifying yourself as poor or lacking in some way? Do you carry that around with you like a garment? The Christ that Jesus expressed so completely is present here and now. You have just as much access to the Christ as Bartimaeus had. Have you asked for healing? Are you willing to rise to the occasion? Can you change the way you have been thinking about yourself? Do you have faith the your request will be granted?

Seeing and hearing are spiritual qualities that exist forever with God. Joy and joyfulness are also spiritual qualities. The Bible tells us we can go out each day with joy. God will be with us all day. Those immortal qualities will be with us all day.

Surely that is a reason to be glad.

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