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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, June 29, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 20:29–34

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. (NRSV)

We’ve probably all had those moments when we were little and our caregivers toted us around to special events or even important meetings, and we were instructed to simply be seen but not heard. Maybe you even tugged on your guardian’s jacket and shared something you shouldn’t have, and your comments were quickly dismissed by the adult figure, noting your presence and perspective were unimportant or insignificant. You may also remember a “hush!” or “shh!” because they were “talking about important adult matters.”

That’s not too far off from today’s scripture, where Matthew details Jesus passing through Jericho, while two blind men are pining for his attention. One would assume these men lived in the community but were most likely outcasts due to their disability or lower class. Rather than encourage them to speak to Jesus, the crowds told the men to be quiet and let Jesus continue on. The crowd could have just as easily invited the men to be with Jesus, but they considered their matters to be of more importance than the two blind men.

Unlike some of our childhood experiences, Jesus invited the men in. He was moved by their earnest desire to gain their sight in both faith and community with him. He was not pushed away by their need or cry for help, but instead, he was drawn in.

How often do we put our needs before those who are most vulnerable? How often do we think “Those folks demanding justice, or to be seen, or to heard—why are they always speaking out? Why are they always protesting?” We could easily consider their cries as disruptive or unimportant. Or we could stop and listen and hear their cries for an advocate to make their voice louder. And have their need met with action.

Christ of boundless compassion, teach us and guide us to hear the cries for justice and to respond with a ready heart and actions of peace. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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