Thursday, 21 October 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 22 - 24 October 2021


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


Let Me See

Sunday 24th October 2021

Pentecost 22 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme Focus

Many families and communities are challenged by members being less abled, like Bartimaeus. Yet Jesus stops and engages with such people, bringing healing and hope

through the kingdom of heaven. God restores every person into the family of God because every person is valued and loved.

Did anyone learn to write at school with pen and ink?

If you made a mistake, what did you do?

If you learned with a pencil, it was easier to erase, and try again. A blackboard or whiteboard is even easier, to remove all signs of the mistake. Likewise, those who learned to type on a manual typewriter had difficulty, whereas a computer allows us to backspace and start again.

When we make mistakes in our lives, sometimes we cannot undo them. If we say or do something hurtful, it is hard to erase it. We all say and do things, intentionally or otherwise,

that separate us from God and from others. We may call this “sin”.

We are assured that when we confess our sin to God, and say sorry for our mistakes, God will forgive us and give us the opportunity to try again. This does not always shield us from the consequences of our sin but allows us to be freed from being bound forever by those consequences. 

Call to Worship

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 and 2018)

        God who restores, who heals, who makes us whole, open our eyes to your work around us. Be in our praying, in our singing, in our proclamation, and in our silence. Open our eyes to see your kingdom coming into the world. 

Jesus has come to town.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

He invites us to join him on his journey.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

Come and be healed and see with new eyes.

Hallelujah! Thanks be to God! 

Hymn TIS 112: Through all the changing scenes of life

                        (Tune - Wiltshire) 

     Opening Prayer

     Great Triune God, through Jesus Christ, our great and eternal High Priest, we give you praise and consecrate ourselves to follow you. As we worship you and celebrate your glorious resurrection, open our eyes so that we may see – open the eyes of our mind to learning and understanding; open the eyes of our heart, to your love and compassion; open the eyes of our soul, to see our spiritual selves during our time of worship. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Mystical, transcendent God, there is so much of life we simply do not know.

In our arrogance we utter what we do not understand.

Rescue us, O Lord, from our afflictions.

Rescue us, O God from our self-inflicted wounds. Have mercy on us, Son of David, Son of God, and save us by your unending grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Cry out to Christ, our great High Priest, for he has saved us. Our faith has made us well, brought us forgiveness and granted us peace.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

That we may come through life’s ups and downs, live to a good and full age, and see God’s mercy to our children and children’s children, let us bless one another with words of peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!


Redeeming Lord, we continually seek your comfortable refuge.  You deliver us from our unfounded fears and provide us with miraculous examples of your love.  In response, we offer these gifts.  We pray that these funds will provide an outreach that warms people with your resplendent love.  As a church community, we exalt and praise your holy name.  Amen. 

Hymn TIS 181: Come, O God of all the earth

                        (Tune – Sing Out)  

The Service of the Word


The First Reading:                                            Job 42:1-6,10-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 10:46-52

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Job 42:1-6,10-17

1 Then Job answered the Lord: 2 ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.” 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.’ 10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. 17 And Job died, old and full of days. 

Mark 10:46-52

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49 Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.51 Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52 Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. 

Preaching of the Word - Let Me See - Mark 10:46-52

The ancients used to call sight, “The Queen of the Senses.” I suspect this enthronement of the sense of sight is still understandable to us. After all, what is lovelier than seeing the orange fire of the sky at sunrise? What is more beautiful than the burning leaves of autumn? What touches our hearts more deeply than seeing a smile on our beloved’s face? You can imagine your own feast for the eyes: sights that delight or enchant, sights that you want to linger over and savour. There are so many sights around me that I want to remember, but, I suppose, the sights I want to remember most are the faces of those I love. I want always to remember the sight of my brother’s face as he held his newborn baby. I want always to remember the wonder in my niece’s eyes as she pointed to geese flying overhead. I want always to remember the smiling, laughing eyes of my grandfather at family gatherings. I can understand why the ancients called sight “The Queen of the Senses.”

I guess this is why the language of sight and seeing has come to mean so much more than simple sense perception. In our everyday talk, we use the language of seeing as a metaphor for understanding. When someone tries to explain something to us, they say, “I want you to see what I am trying to tell you.” And when we finally get it, we say, “Now I see it!” “It was right before my eyes all along.” “It was staring me right in the face.”

In our religious speech, we also use the language of sight as a metaphor for faith. We talk about those things that are visible only to “the eyes of faith.” In the Nunc Dimittis, known also as the Song of Simeon we sing, “Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” Classical theology spoke of our ultimate destiny as the “Beatific Vision”: a time when we shall behold God face to face. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face.

But sometimes learning to see can be hard work. In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard describes studies done on people who recovered their sight after years of blindness. These people were enabled to see after doctors had discovered how to perform safe cataract operations. Dillard writes, “In general the newly sighted see the world as a dazzle of colour-patches… [they] learn quickly to name the colours, but the rest of seeing is tormentingly difficult.” These people have no idea of space or distance and so they walk around bumping into the sharp edges of the colour patches and only then realize that they are part of something substantial. Some people find their new sense of sight so difficult and frustrating that they refuse to use their new vision, and lapse into their old ways of perceiving things.

A doctor reported of one twenty-one-year-old woman who had regained her sight: “Her unfortunate father, who had hoped for so much from this operation, wrote that his daughter carefully shuts her eyes whenever she wishes to go about the house, especially when she comes to a staircase, and she is never happier or more at ease than when, by closing her eyelids, she relapses into her former state of total blindness.” Another patient, so upset by the difficulty he has in learning to translate what he sees into something he can understand, says that he can’t stand it anymore and that he wants to tear his eyes out.

Dillard also notes that for some, regaining a sense of sight is accompanied by a sense of shame. She writes, “A blind man who learns to see is ashamed of his old habits. He dresses up, grooms himself, and tries to make a good impression.”

Sometimes, learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. This seems to be true not only of physical sight, but also of learning to see the truth in the world around us, and, indeed, of learning to see the truth about ourselves. The pain and sorrow of this world so often make us want to avert our eyes from the truth.

Turn on the nightly news and see the latest reports of violence in our communities, and we may feel like closing our eyes and relapsing into total blindness. Look with the prophet Isaiah at the massive injustices in our world, the grinding poverty, the degradation of human dignity, the prejudice, and we may feel like tearing our eyes out. Look at ourselves in the mirror and see the hurts and the wounds we have inflicted on others and on ourselves, and we may feel ashamed. Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult.

In our Gospel lesson for this morning, we have the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus. When we look at Bartimaeus, we see that he was not only blind, but also that he was a beggar sitting beside the road. The truth about Bartimaeus is that because of his blindness, he had lost his freedom. Because of his blindness, Bartimaeus had become dependent on strangers. In particular, Bartimaeus had become dependent on people who would travel the busy road between the major cities Jericho and Jerusalem. We see a blind beggar who had to rely on the handouts of passers-by, whose best bet was to position himself along the pathway of people who might toss him a coin or two.

When Jesus and his disciples walked by, Bartimaeus must have heard them, because he cries out for mercy. And what response do you think this blind beggar gets to his request for mercy? Mark tells us that “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet.” That’s a polite way of saying they told him to shut up. This poor man, this blind man, this man who is reduced to begging for his subsistence from passers-by, cries out for mercy, and many people in the crowd tell him to shut his mouth.

But thanks be to God, Bartimaeus does not keep quiet. He cries out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And despite the attempts of the crowd to shut him up, Jesus hears him, hears his cry for mercy, and calls him to come near. When Bartimaeus learns that his request has been heard, he springs to his feet and runs to Jesus. And what does Jesus do first? He asks him a question: “What do you want me to do for you?” There is such an outpouring of compassion and love in this simple question.

This blind beggar who was treated by so many people like a piece of trash along the side of the road, who was told to keep quiet, is now brought to Jesus who treats him like a human being. Notice, Jesus does not presume to know what Bartimaeus wants. Rather, Jesus raises this man up onto his own two feet, he takes him from a position of subservience and raises him up as human being, and asks him genuinely, lovingly, compassionately: What do you want?

And Bartimaeus says to Jesus, “My teacher, let me see again.” The depths of longing in that request are almost too much to bear. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer have to beg by the side of the road. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer be dependent on strangers. Let me see again and let me no longer be looked at with pity and scorn by passers-by. My teacher, let me see again, and let me go free.

And Jesus says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately, Bartimaeus regains his sight. He leaves his begging cloak behind. And he follows Jesus on the way.

Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. But if we are willing to undergo the painful process, learning to see can also transform our lives. Learning to see can lift us up onto our own two feet. Learning to see can free us to love and serve our neighbours. Learning to see can free us to love and follow the Lord.

Annie Dillard also writes about the amazing gifts of learning to see again. She writes of a little girl who visits a garden. “She is greatly astonished and can scarcely be persuaded to answer. She stands speechless in front of a tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as ‘the tree with the lights in it.’” Another woman was so dazzled by the world’s brightness that she kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly explained: “Oh God! How beautiful!”

Oh God! How beautiful! Learning to see can be a painfully difficult process. There is so much about our world and about ourselves that may make us want to look away. In so many ways, we are all imprisoned by our own types of blindness. But the good news is that we do not have to remain in bondage to our blindness. We can learn to see. We can learn to look at our neighbours with compassion. We can learn to unmask the self-serving rhetoric of peoples and companies and governments that tell people to keep quiet while they are subjected to grinding poverty and violence.

We can learn to look at our own frailties and failings and ask for help. We can ask people what they need and help them get onto their own feet again. And we can learn to look anew at this amazing, awesome, blooming, buzzing, glorious creation and all the creatures in it, including our own blind and beggarly human race and exclaim, “Oh God! How beautiful! Oh God! How beautiful!”

Let us pray. O Lord our God, hear our cries for mercy. Raise us up from our places alongside the way of life. Heal us from our blindness. Set us free to look with compassion upon those whom you place in our paths. Free us to follow you on the way of self-giving love. And at the last day, bring us with all your saints into that heavenly city where all tears will be wiped away and where we shall behold you face to face. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 223: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

                       (Tune – St Botolph)          

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 22 Sunday – Year B

Have times of silence to pray and end the silence with the responsive words:

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Here and now in this place we your people, respond to your call upon us, O God, to pray for those in need.

We pray for the people whose names are known across the world, because their stories are ever present in the media, …. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for people in places of suffering whose names only you and their friends and family know; whose lives you cherish and whose cries you hear….. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the people whose names and lives we know,

those who today are in pain or distress or trouble, those who are happy, those who are sad…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

O God. You know each of us by name. We bring you ourselves and our prayers for the things we need

…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Hear the cries of all these people and of your whole creation Lord Jesus Christ. And in your mercy, bring your healing and deliverance. Amen

(adapted from a prayer on the Pilgrim Uniting Church website) 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 160: Father all-loving and ruling in majesty

                       (Tune - Was Lebet Was Schwebet) 


Go as the church, as Jesus' entourage, following where he leads. Everywhere he goes he leaves healing and hope in his wake. Go, and listen, and learn, and love.

        And may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you always, Amen 

Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you.                  

                 (Tune – Aubrey)

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