A Song of Bartimaeus - my imagining of Mark 10:46-52

It had been years, years, since he had seen the light of day,
     sitting by the side of that dusty, unforgiving road.
Beauty he once consumed, vistas he once felt, eyes he had once known,
          the very word drove pain into his breast;
          Not his eyes, but others.
Sitting by the road, coughing up the dust that tortured his lungs,
his ears whisper to him that which his dark eyes cannot:
     that other eyes are blind to his,
     that the symphony of sandals which shuffle past him year after year
     hold the descant of eyes that soar above him,
     eyes that choose not to see the eyes that are choosing
          to yearn, to crave, to seek...

He had long memorized the song of his place on the road,
     the laughter of a child running to catch up with her father,
     the gush of water being carrying past his withered shell of a body,
     the sharp curses of the men who, with their eyes upon the future,
          trip over his fragile legs and never look back.

And then, one day, the symphony changed without warning.
The whispers surround him as his ears adjusted to the change of key,
     a modulation which challenges his monotonous life.
     Two words he manages to capture:  he saves.
Quickly, intensely, abruptly, the feet scuffle off and he once again
     is left alone.

In the silence, he wonders, could it be?  Who hadn't heard the rumor of the man
     who stills waters,
     who perishes demons,
     who grabs hands and lifts.
With a grimace the shrunken muscles of his arms
force the hunch of his back to straighten his posture.
He turns his face to align his ears to prod the silence.

And then, it came.  The silence began to be pushed away,
     the feet returned but with a different tone.
     What was different about this crowd?
     What it the shouting,
         the concentration of sound,
         the way in which the sound unveiled itself to him as
         a different crowd approached.
     No.  That wasn't it.

And then the spark happened.  A small but unsettling flash of light
     in the sea of his darkness.
And then, he knew.
A whisper which stirred his heart and
     erupted a primal cry within his breast....

MERCY!!!! he cries.  Mercy on me!  His eyes had never been wider.
     the flash in his darkness stilled but remained bright.
The clash of his cry hushed the crowd as they realized
     that a new improvisation was thrust upon their scripted symphony.
Hush!  Shut up!  Be quiet!

MERCY!!!! he cries again.  Mercy upon me!!!
Then, a word beckons him
    Not a word of confusion and monotony,
    but of grace and intimacy.

Not his strength but a new force within him springs him up.
Others begin to cough and wheeze as the dust is shaken from his cloak,
     caught in the wind and blown to the side.

Let me see again, he says.
The blurry light he had seen began to dance around his head
splattering paint of deepest blue and brightest yellow
His eyes adjust to a new light, a different light.
This light is not what it had been before.
This light brings him more questions and answers.

As his eyes begin their abundant feast
     he knows that he must follow this light
For it will take no less than his lifetime
     to proclaim the mystery of this sight.

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Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.