Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reformation Restoration: Ordinary 30, Year B

This Week's Lectionary Texts:
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 or Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 34:1-8, (19-22) or Psalm 126
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52
Restoration 5 by Mike Basinger

The Week's Reflection:
In Job's text this week, Job responds to God's smack-down. Remember last week's text? "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Job is reminded of who is ultimately driving the car. In the passage for this Sunday, we are told that Job's fortunes are restored and that he went on to live a happy, healthy, and wealthy life. The restoration that seems more important, though, is that Job was brought to a place of saying, "Yep, that's right, God. I forgot for a minute, but I'm back on track now. I know that there is nothing that you can't do."

Golden Blind Man by Darren Levant
The Jeremiah text points us toward restoration as well with promises from God about gathering the Israelites together and restoring them to a home where water will flow and the paths will be straight. And, of course, the Psalms go hand in hand with their lectionary counterparts with praises sung to God for caring for God's children and songs of praise about Zion's restoration.

In Hebrews we are pointed toward a restored Christ, a high priest that will have no need of a replacement. And, Mark leads us to the story of Blind Bartamaeus who is literally restored from blindness to sight. Of course, we know that there was much more to this restoration than meets the eye (pun intended). Bartamaeus was told to shut up, to leave Jesus alone. They tried to push him to the sidelines, keep him an outcast on the margins. But, he didn't believe them. He had the audacity to believe something that no one was telling him. He had the audacity to believe that Jesus would listen to him too. He had the audacity to believe that Jesus could restore him. And though everyone around him tried to keep him quiet and along those margins, he called out. Not only did he call out, but Jesus stopped and called to him too. Bartamaeus threw off his cloak - rid himself of all that was old, all that was keeping him in the gutter - and ran to Jesus. Jesus restored his sight. But, Jesus also restored his life, his meaning in society, his value as a member of the community.

Still from Luther a movie directed by Eric Till
Bartamaeus, though the one who was physically blind, was able to see that things must change. Those following Jesus couldn't see it and tried to keep the status quo by telling him to be quiet. But, this blind beggar could see better that a reformation needed to happen in order to have restoration in his life. I haven't listed the texts for Reformation Sunday, but that is upon us once again. Certainly, Martin Luther had visions of restoration as he nailed those 95 theses to the door. Certainly, he saw a community in pain and a Church who was blind and he sought the power of Christ to restore her. Today it may be important to look at ways we need to continue to restore the Church Universal, to seek unity where there is none, so that we will truly be the One Body of Christ on earth. In other words, did we protestants protest too much? Can we restore the Church to unity?

Where do our congregations need to be reformed? Where do we need to be restored. May we call out to Jesus from wherever we find ourselves along the journey. What a glorious moment it will be when he stops and calls to us too.