Scripture: Mark 10: 46-52—The Story of Blind Bartimaeus
I’m not the best at making drastic, dramatic changes in life, just because I hear Jesus calling me to something. First of all, it’s hard to know that the nudge I feel toward something might actually be Jesus. Secondly, change is hard. Maintaining life as I’ve known it remains much more comfortable than upending the routine. The routine may have problems, but at least I know it.
Bartimaeus, blind beggar though he is, commands my respect. He makes a huge change in his life. The crowd says, “Jesus is calling you. Take heart, get up.” Admittedly, he had it easier in hearing Jesus’ call to him than I do. He got to actually hear and see Jesus.
Even so, Bartimaeus makes a change—which is more than I might have done in the same situation. He takes heart, he stands up, and grasps his cloak—the most important thing he owns. He would have used the folded cloak in his lap, with a bowl-shaped indentation to catch tossed coins as he begged. The cloak defined his space on the path apart from all the other beggars. By day the cloak protected him from the scorching desert son, by night it became his shelter and his home.
Bartimaeus can’t move to Jesus, encumbered under folds of fabric. To throw off his cloak he will have to cast aside any coins he has received. To throw off his cloak he will have to cast aside his economic security blanket. To throw off his cloak he will have to cast aside his only home. To throw off his cloak he will have to cast aside life as he has known it—and though a routine with problems, it is still familiar.
Coins clatter to the ground. Bartimaeus casts off his security blanket, and comes to Jesus. By throwing off what hindered him, namely the only life he could remember, Bartimaeus opens up to a healing life.
Jesus comes in front of each of us every day, and stops to call us to new life. Jesus extends in this very moment grace, grace under whatever cloak you may be covered, under whatever is keeping you from the fullness of life in Christ.
Yet to come you have to throw off your cloak. You can’t leap toward Jesus when you are still encumbered within the folds of the life you know. To throw off your cloak, you may have to cast aside that one thing that is keeping you from really, truly following Jesus. What is it? Throw it off. Open to a new and healing life.
Standing with feet hip distance apart, place your hands at heart center in prayer position. Take heart. Inhale, lifting the arms up to the sky, breathing in courage. Exhale, releasing the arms down, with hands coming back into prayer. As you exhale, imagine throwing off whatever is cloaking you. Repeat the flow of your arms and breath several times.
Peak pose: Trikonasana- In triangle, or trikonasana, place your free hand over your heart. As you inhale, extend the hand to the sky, as though you are casting off a cloak. Exhale, bringing the hand back to heart center. Repeat this action for 3-5 breaths. Cast off what cloaks you. Take heart. Jesus is calling you.