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Summary: A dramatic monologue on the theme of ministry.
Style: Dramatic.   Duration: 8min
Actors: 1M
Scripture: Mark 10: 46-52

Character: Bartimaeus


O, what a wonderful day this is! Have you looked outside today? Did you hear the birds singing, did you see the colors of the leaves outside? And what beautiful clothes you are all wearing!

You take those things for granted, don't you? You think you will just wake up every day and those things are right there for you to see. I know, sometimes you really do see them. And sometimes you see things that don't happen every day. Like the northern lights in the sky at night. When you see them, you really are in awe of how wonderful God is. How intricate is God's handiwork. How marvelous are God's works!

I can see them, too. And, like you, I wonder and marvel at what a delightful world this is, and what a wonderful God we have. But it was not always like that for me. Not at all.

You see, I was born blind. Born to be a beggar. My father, Timaeus, well, he was a poor man, you see. He made barely enough to feed our family. Not too long after I was born, and my family realized I could not see, they made a decision – to send me out to beg. What else could they do? There were no doctors who could make me see. There was no magic.

I don't mean my family abandoned me. Not at all. They helped me to find a safe place to set up my bowl by the roadside, and would come by to keep a watch on me.

Do you know what it is like to be blind in my society? To be ridiculed and taunted by children, spat on by adults, robbed, shunned by people, from society itself. If I had not had my family, I might have starved. The roadside might have been my bed, and my grave.

I had to endure the taunts, and the slander I overheard about me and my family. They said my father must have sinned. My mother a whore. Me a bastard. I had to put up with the poverty. My family had never known anything else. I would ask God again and again why this happened to me. I got no answer. But still I prayed. Still I believed God cared. That God would not abandon me, either.

I'll tell you what kept me going, though. Every now and again, this child would come by. Not one of those who threw stones at me, but a kind child. A little girl would drop a coin in my bowl, and sit beside me and talk. Sometimes we would talk for an hour or more. She would tell me about her family, her mother's cooking. At times she would bring a falafel from home to share with me. Tell me about her school. About the games she played with her friends.

But all I knew was her name. I never had the courage to ask her if I could touch her face. I just assumed she was beautiful. As beautiful on the outside as she was inside. Her hair as soft as her voice.

This little girl whom I could not see, she ministered to me. I don't think she would have called it that. She probably thought only the rabbi did ministry.

But ministry is not a bunch of holy words. It does not have to have words at all. It is more like a presence. The presence of someone who cares about you. Someone who doesn't see what you look like on the outside, but who you are inside.

And then, one day, a miracle happened. A man came into our town. His name was Jesus. I had heard about him. Who hadn't? And someone like me, sitting by the roadside day after day, well, I was probably the most informed person around. I hear everything that goes on in this place. Nobody thinks I can hear, just because I couldn't see. So as they're walking by they just keep talking.

And Jesus, they said, this fellow from Nazareth, he was a preacher and a teacher. A prophet. Maybe even a rabbi. But most important to me, they said he had the gift of performing miracles.

Maybe if I could get his attention, he would heal me. Maybe. Just maybe.

It turned out Jesus came into Jericho on the very road I was sitting by. I could hear the crowd following him, people talking, shouting, coming nearer and nearer. But what if he missed me? What if they took him down a side road before he got to me?

In my desperation, I did something I had never done before. A dangerous thing. I threw down my beggar's bowl. And I waded into the crowd.

In the crowd, anything can happen. But at that point I didn't care. I rushed in, not knowing who was who in the crowd, and I just started shouting. "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Someone shouted, "Shut up, you fool." Then some bully turned and slapped me on the side of the head. He sent me reeling backwards. Sideways. I didn't know where I was. My head was spinning. I fell to the ground.

I cried out again. "Jesus, have mercy on me."

Then everything stopped. And Jesus spoke. "Call him here," he said. Someone else came to where I was and said, "Take heart. He is calling you." I threw off my beggar's cloak and ran to Jesus' voice. What he said then was so simple, it almost took my breath away. "What do you want me to do for you?"

All of the years of my suffering came back to me. All my prayers to God. All my hopes and dreams. And that little girl's face. I wanted to see her face. I said something as simple as the question Jesus had asked me. "I want to see again."

Jesus said, "Go. Your faith has made you well."

And now I am well. I decided that day that I would follow him. And I would tell my story to anyone who would listen. But before I went, while Jesus was still in Jericho, I went to my family, and we had a feast. A celebration like we had never had before.

And I found the little girl. And you know what? She is beautiful. Just as beautiful as all the people I now see. She is made in the image of God. Just as you are. Just as I am.

Sometimes we can't see the image of God in each other. Sometimes the ugliness of the world puts a mask over the beauty. But I have learned, because I was blind, to find the beauty of God within. I never learned to judge people from the outside. That is truly a gift God gave me.

I wonder, sometimes, what would have happened if I had not been healed?

Lots of people live their lives blind, or crippled, or handicapped in some way. It is not their fault, any more than my blindness was my fault. And when I see those people, I have to decide what, if anything, to say. Should I tell them about my healing?

Much of the time I choose not to. But I do often tell them about Jesus. Because what he gave me – and what the little girl gave me – was more important than my sight. They gave me my dignity. my worth. I now use a phrase that makes the most sense of it all for me.

“I am a child of God.” And so are you.


(c) Copyright Jim Hatherly.
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