All Are Included
In this week's blog post, Debbie Martin, Children & Families Minister at St George & St Paul's, reflects on the story of Bartimaeus and how everyone, regardless of their abilities or circumstances, can call out to Jesus.
At Fusion, our club for primary aged children, we are looking at people in the Bible who met Jesus and whose lives were totally transformed by their encounter. These encounters are twofold; they give us examples of how to be more like Jesus, and how our growth in Him, transforms us.
In the heart of the Gospel of Mark lies a profound story of faith, healing, and inclusion. The encounter between Bartimaeus and Jesus not only holds spiritual significance but also offers valuable lessons for how we approach individuals with additional needs in our family, church and community.
Bartimaeus, a blind beggar living in the bustling city of Jericho, symbolises the many people in our society who face physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges. His blindness not only isolated him but also pushed him to the margins of society. Yet, Bartimaeus never lost faith in the possibility of transformation.
When Bartimaeus learned that Jesus was passing through Jericho, he seized the opportunity to seek healing and a better life. His faith and determination were evident as he cried out to Jesus, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" His plea was a powerful reminder that everyone, regardless of their abilities or circumstances, can call out to Jesus.
Jesus' response to Bartimaeus exemplifies the compassion and inclusivity that we should aspire to in our Church, family and communities . Instead of dismissing Bartimaeus or viewing his disability as an inconvenience, Jesus stopped to address him. Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" This simple question demonstrated a profound respect for Bartimaeus and a willingness to meet his specific needs. This is the example to us, from our Saviour. The one who knows every inch of us all. The one who knew Bartimaeus was blinded, but nonetheless asked him.
In our modern society, we can apply this lesson by creating accessible environments, fostering understanding and awareness, and extending a helping hand to those with additional needs, first and foremost asking the question "what is required from us?" We can so easily think we know what is required, but our assumption may cause upset. We must put ourselves out of our comfort zone and ask. We can be confident that Jesus asked, He has set the example for us to follow.
Bartimaeus' story reminds us that faith, welcome, and compassion have the power to transform lives. Let us strive to follow Jesus' example in our own lives, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, is given the opportunity to thrive and be part of a welcoming supportive community. Spiritual development, growth and encounters are for all, we are called to share Jesus, to tell the Good News, to be community. Our attitudes and behaviour speak louder than any words possibly could.
May you enjoy a sunny weekend, and maybe a sunny week too.
Debbie (Children & Families Minister)
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