Sunday, October 18, 2009

Proper 25 Ordinary 30 Pentecost 21 B (October 25): Going Against the Flow, Risky Discipleship




















Bible Readings: Job 42:1-6, 10-17, Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22), Hebrews 7:23-28, Mark 10:46-52


About the images:
Upper: There was a T - shirt a bit like this doing the rounds a few years ago. I made this one with Microsoft free clip art.
Lower: I took this photo in one of the laneways of inner city Melbourne, Australia. For more info on the laneways, Google Melbourne and see the page on "Melbourne laneways" under "About Melbourne" or "Welcome to Melbourne". Please feel free to use it.

Prayer of Confession: Praise - The Business of Eternity
Found in Rivers in the Desert by Rowland Croucher (Ed.), Albatross Books
, 1991, ISBN 086760137X, page 51 (pictured at right).

Film Clip: Mother Teresa
This is a TV series (pictured at left) which I have not seen in Australia (but I might be wrong). I downloaded the clip from that excellent site www.wingclips.com. I used the conversation between Mother Teresa and her priest, where she convinces him that she must go against the conventions of her cloistered order to follow God's call to minister to the poor of India.

Discussion: Mother Teresa
1. How are Mother Teresa and Blind Bartimaeus alike?
2. How is discipleship difficult for them both?

Drama: Blind Bartimaeus
Part 1: Interview 1.
Reporter interviews Bartimaeus who has a begging bowl and a blanket that he takes from his shoulders and sits on. Anything else to add authenticity is OK. Questions run along the lines below - it’s not word for word, make it up as you go along keeping to the basic story.
Who are you?
Blind Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus etc
Why don’t you go out and earn a living some other way?
In my culture that’s all I can do, no sheltered workshops, no braille, no social welfare etc etc.
What are you doing here?
Seemed to be a big crowd, bit of a holiday atmosphere, thought there might be good pickings
Why do you have that bowl?
People chuck money in it, its noisy so I know how much money people have given me, I eat out of it
Why do you sit on that cloak?
If any money misses the bowl, I have a fair idea where it is and I don’t waste my time sorting through stones and gravel
Can I look at your cloak?
No way!!Why not?Most important thing I own, I’d never let it go, it catches all my money, it keeps me warm, it shelters me from the weather, its my bed, its my security, my comfort, basically it is my life. Walks off in a bit of a huff at the very idea that someone might touch his cloak?

Part 2: Congregational play
Read the story out to the congregation (Mark 10:46-52). They provide the voices for the crowd (on the overhead or data projector or in your pew sheet). Encourage them to shout their parts loudly – even practice before you start reading. Its better if they each chose one or two phrases to shout out instead of trying to say the whole thing together.
Response 1 (after v 48a):
Pipe down! Be quiet!! Put a sock in it! Stop shouting!! Shush up!!! Don’t yell like that!! Hey, that’s enough from you!! Who do you think you are??
Response 2 (after v. 49b)
Don’t be afraid! Come on! He’s calling for you!! Go on then!! Get up!!! Quickly!!! Get a move on!! Hurry!!

Part 3: Interview 2
Reporter again interviews Bartimaeus -as before, what is below is not word for word. Improvise!
Why! Is that you, Blind Bartimaeus? You old rogue! So, you were just pretending to be blind?
No, I really was – tell story of what happened.
Wow, so where’s your cloak?
Chucked it away, didn’t even think, wanted to get straight to Jesus when he called, somebody’s probably nicked it by now.
So, do you want us to help you find it? I remember how you felt about that cloak?
Nah, don’t need it any more. Who cares? I’m off to follow Jesus
But it was the most important thing you owned. You said that you’d never let it go, it catches all your money, it keeps you warm, it shelters you from the weather, its your bed, its your security, your comfort. Basically, it is your life.
But everything’s changed. I can see. I am a disciple of Jesus. He’s my shelter, he’s my security, he’s my comfort.But I’ve heard tell things are getting a little sticky for him. People are plotting his death.
Will you follow him that far?
The most important thing is being one of his followers, I’ll never let him go. He is my life.
Copyright: Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull - permission given to use and adapt.

Listening song; It's My Life
By Bon Jovi on the album, Crush, 2000 (pictured at left).The words of this song could easily be Blind Bartimaeus's words as he stands up to the crowd and continues to call out to Jesus.

Discussion Questions:
What if Bartimaeus had not stood up to the crowd?
What does Jesus tell Bartimaeus to do after he is healed?
What does Bartimaeus do?
Where is Jesus going?

Story: The Kreplach Joke
Found in August 04 2006 archive of the blog called Divinity is in the Details. Useful for illustrating that we often feel comfortable with a lots of the different parts of out Christian faith, but when we put it all together and see the call and risk of discipleship sometimes we, too, say "AAAHHHHH!!"

Story: Christian Retirement?
Heard a story once about a minister in a small, struggling rural church in a small drought stricken and struggling rurul community who went to visit a new couple in the town who had recently retired and moved from the city. He had heard that they had been very active members of their city church and so he went with some excitement and anticipation. However when he knocked on the door and said who he was, he was met with this bald statement; " Oh no, we don't want to go to church here. We've retired".

Response Activity:
Pass around ribbons:
Ask people to think of one aspect of following Jesus which they would like to do or do better.
Then ask: If Jesus is asking you “ What do you want me to do for you?", what is your answer.
As they think of an answer to each question, ask them to tie a knot in their piece of ribbon. Stand together and say an Affirmation of faith/Creed together. Encourage them to take the ribbon home and put it somewhere significant to remind them of God's faithfulness and their determination to follow.

Prayer:
From Come Holy Spirit: Renew the Whole Creation, WCC Publications, 1990, page 38
.