The Lectio Divina exercise at church this evening reflected on a passage from Saint Luke’s Gospel:
“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God”.
Which word or phrase most captured my attention?
Two simple words, “Jesus stopped.”
The one whom the Church believes to be God incarnate stops on the road, not because of the presence of some great and powerful leader, not because of some major world issue, not because of events of epic importance, but because a solitary, lonely, outcast sitting at the side of the road called out to him.
“Jesus stopped” is perhaps one of the most important things I can know.
There is a story told about Karl Barth, one of the 20th Century’s greatest theologians visiting the United States. A young student asked Barth what was the most important thing in his theology. Barth is said to have smiled and said, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
“Jesus stopped” says that everyone matters, absolutely and infinitely.
It is hard to see the Jesus who stops along the road in the life of the Church of Ireland.