O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Psalm 27.1-4, 16-17
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes,
came upon me to eat up my flesh,
they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
my heart shall not be afraid,
and though there rise up war against me,
yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord
and that alone I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and he shall comfort your heart;
wait patiently for the Lord.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
As Jesus went on, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, ‘See that no one knows of this.’ But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.
As we journey towards Christmas, as we journey through the season of Advent, we journey like the two blind men in today’s reading. We know that a great thing is about to happen; we know that something wonderful is going to happen; we know that Jesus’ Incarnation in the humblest of circumstances is going to change the course of human history for ever. Like the two blind men, we may also find ourselves crying out: Have mercy on us, Son of David! But, as Jesus comes among us offering so much, we need to ask ourselves the question: ‘How strong is our faith?’
If you look up the word ‘faith’ in the dictionary you will find eleven possible definitions. Seven of those definitions have nothing to do with religion, and of the other four, two offer a bland quasi-religious option. The two that specifically relate to religious faith, rather than faith in other human beings, say this: Belief in the truth of revealed religion and Confidence and trust in God. Rather than ‘honesty’, ‘fidelity to promises’, ‘word or honour pledged’, or any of the other definitions offered, I would suggest that we need to focus solely on the belief, truth, confidence and trust in God when we reflect upon Jesus’ response to the two blind men: According to your faith let it be done to you.
The fact that the recipients of Jesus’ healing are blind should be seen as significant. They had heard the Good News but, unlike others we have heard of this week, they could not have seen it with their own eyes. In their physical blindness they had been told unbelievable stories of the man who could heal the incurable. Many would have shrugged such stories aside. Many would have been very cautious about falling prey to some sort of cruel joke. However, the two blind men in today’s reading believed. They demonstrated an abundance of faith in that which they could not see. Then, when Jesus had rewarded their faith and restored their sight, they could not contain their joy: they went away and spread the news about him throughout the district.
We are like those two blind men in that we are not able to see Jesus walking amongst us, working his deeds of power. However, we are called to believe, to have faith in the truth of that very fact. Jesus is amongst us, and Jesus is still rewarding those with an abundance of faith.
Let us pray that our faith may be abundant and that we may come to know Jesus’ healing touch in our lives. Let us pray that we might have confidence and faith in the truth of God. Let us pray that we might never fail to share the Good News of Jesus’ presence and power with all we meet in our daily lives.
Prayers of intercession
We pray for the coming of God’s kingdom.
You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives, and salvation to your people: anoint us with your Spirit; rouse us to work in his name.
Send us to bring help to the poor and freedom to the oppressed.
Send us to tell the world the good news of your healing love.
Send us to those who mourn, to bring joy and gladness instead of grief.
Send us to proclaim that the time is here for you to save your people.
God of mercy, you know us and love us and hear our prayer: keep us in the eternal fellowship of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Prayer for the week
God of all hope and joy,
open our hearts in welcome,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in us a dwelling prepared for him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.
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