Hello everyone! Last Sunday Fred and I led the service at Harlow Hill.
Fred opened the service and we sang ‘Love divine, all loves excelling.’ Fred led the prayers and I did the children’s address, although there were no children present as we are all God’s children. I described the story of an seriously ill child, whose younger sister overheard the doctor saying that only a miracle could save the child. When her mummy went upstairs to tend her sister, the 5 year old climbed up and got her money box and hurried with it to the village shop. She rushed in breathlessly interrupting the old shopkeeper who was in conversation with a tall distinguished looking gentleman; ‘Can I buy a miracle?’ she asked. The 2 men looked amused and the shopkeeper explained that he did not sell miracles and the light of hope died in the little girl’s eyes. The gentleman asked her why she wanted to buy a miracle, so she explained that Pauline was very poorly and needed a miracle to get better. The shopkeeper agreed that her sister had been ill for more than a week. The tall gentleman asked if he could come home with her and see, so together they returned to her home. Soon the London surgeon who was on holiday in Devon had borrowed some instruments and performed an operation which saved Pauline’s life. He had made the ‘miracle’ happen! Bartimeaus was a blind beggar who heard the commotion as the crowd with Jesus came by on their way to Jesus and asked who was going past. When he was told that it was Jesus, Bartimeaus started shouting for Jesus to help him and passersby tried to shut him up, but undeterred he shouted even louder, Jesus help me. Jesus stopped and called him and Bartimeaus threw off his coat and hurried to Jesus asked him what he wanted him to do for him; Bartimeaus asked to be able to see and Jesus told him his faith had made him well. Joyfully Bartimeaus became a disciple and followed Jesus along the way.
We then sang ‘All for Jesus’ before Fred led a responsive reading of Psalm 34 with us all. Job 42 was read before we sang ‘When Jesus the healer passed through Galilee’
Fred and I with 2 members of the congregation read the dramatised version of the story of Bartimeaus from Mark 10v46-52 before I preached. I reminded the congregation of how Job had been longing to confront God about all the disasters which had happened to him but when God came and spoke, he no longer needed to question God anymore. It was enough for him to see God for himself not just know of him by report. However he had been trying to show that suffering could come even to those who tried to serve God. Now Job having met God accepted his sufferings and even prayed for his friends who had let him down so badly. Now Job’s fortune and his family were restored and his friends brought him gifts to make a fresh start. The psalmist in Psalm 34 was just overflowing with thanksgiving and praise as he had sought the Lord’s help and He had answered him and set him free from his fears. He saw himself as a lowly insignificant man and could not believe himself worthy of the restoration God had given him. Bartimeaus was an outsider as a disabled blind man reliant on help to be taken to places where he could support himself by begging. He was curious about the crowd passing him on the way to Jerusalem and he shouted to Jesus addressing him as the Son of David to have pity on him. He did not stop shouting when the crowds tried to silence him, but shouted even louder for Jesus’ help and Jesus stopped and called him. Bartimeaus did not stop for a second but flinging off his cloak he hurried to Jesus and Jesus healed him after asking him what he wanted him to do. He knew his need and allowed nothing to prevent him from meeting with Jesus. He too was full of joy and became a disciple of Jesus and followed him along the way. Help us like Job and the psalmist to call on the Lord for help, remembering always to give thanks and praise to Jesus as we are restored to health. May we always recognise our need of Jesus and be as persistent as Bartimeaus in seeking for him and stay close to Him as we go through our daily lives.