BCB IN CANADA - DAY 1, 15TH APRIL 2011
Neil Blessett (Principal Horn) writes......
The day started early, and the coach was loaded before a brief time of prayer was spent with families. The members of the band then said “farewell” to their loved ones before boarding the coach for the first leg of the long journey.
The coach journey was relatively traffic free and there was even time for a break at the services with Starbucks profits doubling for the day. For some reason the coach driver insisted on playing the songsters CD much to the protests of the band members.
We alighted the coach at Heathrow and got through customs with ease although a couple of
band members did look rather worried as they were invited to participate in the “customary” search!
After what seemed a long wait at the airport we eventually boarded the plane, many of the band used the flight to catch up on a much needed nap given the early start we had, we were also provided a meal but I would not like to guess what this consisted of (apparently it was chicken!).
Upon landing in Canada the several members of the band had another brush with Canadian customs and we seemed to be having a game of suitcase domino rally.
So for the final leg of the journey we boarded the coach, to meet our hosts for the first weekend at Mountain Citadel. As the saying goes “there is no such thing as strangers, just friends we have not met yet” and we look forward to the fellowship of the next few days.
Blind man seeing
Mark 10 verses 46-52
In Mark’s gospel the story of the Bartimaeus is recorded immediately before the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday and so as we literally fly(!) towards the start of Holy Week and our sense of heading towards the climax of Easter Sunday (It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming!) this pre holy week incident may have something for us – perhaps some insights, certainly some questions (one very big one!) and hopefully some answers. Below is the text which you are invited to read now. When you have read it you will see some notes and questions for you to consider.
Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!
49 Jesus stopped and said, Call him. So they called to the blind man, Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you. 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asked him. The blind man said, Rabbi, I want to see. 52 Go, said Jesus, your faith has healed you. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
You can easily picture the scenario – Jesus and his disciples followed by a large crowd are leaving Jericho, a city some 17 miles from Jerusalem (something like Birmingham to Coventry. By the side of the road sits a beggar called Bartimaeus, who has heard about Jesus and decides he will do whatever it takes to be ministered to by Jesus. (Definition of ‘to minister’ – ‘to give help to somebody in need’ – often spiritually, but not always!) Look what he does – verses 47 and 48. Note the reaction of the people around him. Despite the opposition, even of those close to him, he continues to shout out and attracts the attention of Jesus. Bartimaeus is called – look what he did (verse 50) and listen to the question this blind man heard – “What do you want me to do for you?” You’ll see what the results were.
To Consider! Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak. Is there anything that you need to ‘get shot off’ – something that hinders you honestly coming before God? Is there something to correct? Sin to confess? Attitude to be tempered or changed? Habits or ungodly practices for you to be released from? Listen to the question again “What do you want me to do for you?” Be honest!
To go deeper. In your Bible have a look at the incident in Mark 10 immediately before the story of Bartimaeus. In stark contrast James and John do not get it! They are asked the exact same question and their response - at that time in their discipleship - is woeful (Mark 10.36-38.) For them it was all about status and you’ll read that Jesus needed to give a lesson about servanthood which led to Jesus saying in verse 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
Application. It was in response to the call and in the confession of need that true healing and wholeness came to Bartimaeus (who presumably had to change his first name!). May it be so for all of us as we together and individually prepare ourselves to ‘minister’ in Canada. The story ends with the statement of fact that Bartimaeus received his sight but then followed Jesus along the road. That is the challenge for us all – to follow – aligning every part of our lives to Jesus.
Prayer. You’ll know what to pray. Take time to do so!