I just love this Sunday's Gospel (the ordinary one from Mark 10, not the Reformation Sunday text)-- which makes it a hard text to preach because I hardly know where to start and where to stop.
For example, the intriguing significance of his name, repeated in the text. Timaeus is not a Hebrew name. It's the name of a Platonic dialogue. I'm persuaded by the argument, elaborated in Gordon Lathrop's Holy Ground, that Mark is arguing here for a fundamental "hole in the cosmology" of a worldview that excludes the blind and begging. This blind man sees something about Jesus that no one else does, and he is granted his wish for vision -- quite a contrast to all the preceding stories about disciples who want to be the greatest, and rich men who can tick off their righteousness points.
We're confirming a couple very bright and wonderful young people this Sunday, and I often wonder about what this text means for the children of Timaeus, us thoughtful privileged types, who pray every day that our children never end up lost, begging, desperate. We want them to continue as they are -- bright, successful, self-reliant. But Mark suggests that its these types who are really blind.
But it's hard to throw this juicy point about Bartimaeus' name into a sermon, especially if you can't assume people know anything about Plato, or the rest of Mark's Gospel, for that matter. So I leave it here for you all. Some Sundays I am so jealous of pastors whose congregations allow them to preach for 30-50 minutes.