Next Sabbath’s and Sunday’s scriptures are: Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52.
These lessons may be gathered under the title, “The Mighty Mercy of Our God.” Brueggemann defines God’s mercy as “God’s free, powerful capacity and readiness to bring distorted life to a good end.” This affirmation of God’s overriding, rehabilitating mercy is evident in Job 42:10-17 where God’s sovereign mercy restores to Job everything lost in the earlier sweep of incredible calamity. The God who mysteriously decreed the devastation of all Job’s securities now marvelously decides to return and restore everything Job lost, and more besides. Job comes through calamity not only richer, but holier as well. He now understands that there is a mystery in God that cannot be forced into the narrow place of human doctrine, theology and understanding. God is free and sovereign beyond our ability to understand. We are growing to learn how to praise God for the mystery of God’s holiness.
The Psalm (34) is a song of sheer thanksgiving by a humble person who has no power to save himself or herself. The reading in Hebrews declares that Jesus Christ is indeed the guarantee and agent of God’s action of reconciliation. God’s mercy is not weak or moody but is fully and reliably given “once for all” in Jesus. Mark 10:46-52 is the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus who dares to ask Jesus for nothing more and nothing less than the restoration of his sight. We all need spiritual sight, the ability to see ourselves, others and reality as God sees all things. Jesus stops to heal a humble man who invests his blessing of sight and his very self in the service of Christ. “And immediately when he received his sight, he followed Jesus in the way.” What have we done with the blessings, benefits and gifts we have received from God? Have we tithed our income? Have we offered our spiritual understanding in the program of Christian education? Have we invested our voices in the choir? Have we used our strength to serve and help people who need our help?
Read and be challenged to make an appropriate response to the mercy of God.
C. G. A.