There is no video today due to technical difficulties (there is no sound on the video).
The transcript of today’s service is below.
We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resolve the issue for next week.


  • Greeting & Announcments – Rev. Val
  • Call to Worship, and Opening Prayer 
  • Hymn: My Faith Looks Up to Thee (UMH 452)
  • Responsive Reading – Psalm 34:1-8 (UMH 769)
  • Gloria Patri (UMH 70)
  • Pastoral Prayer – Rev. Val
  • Scripture Readings – Job 42:1-17 (NRSV), Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV) – Rev. Val
  • Hymn: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (UMH 349)
  • Message: Now My Eyes See – Rev. Val
  • Offertory Prayer – Rev. Val
  • Doxology (UMH 95)
  • Hymn: Open My Eyes That I My See (UMH 454)
  • Benediction – Rev. Val


Save the date!

  • Ongoing – Prayer Vigil
  • October 31 – All Saints Day Service
  • November 7 – Communion Sunday
  • November 20 – Remembrance Candlelight Vigil
    • 6 pm in front of Campus Ministry Building, Maryville College
  • November 28 – First Sunday of Advent (Hope)
    • 3:00 p.m. – Charge Conference at Maryville First UMC
  • December 5 – Second Sunday of Advent (Love)
    • Joint Service with Maryville College Pride Club
    • Communion Sunday
  • December 12 – Third Sunday of Advent (Joy)
  • December 19 – Fourth Sunday of Advent (Peace)
  • December 21 – Longest Night (TBA)
  • December 24 – Christmas Even (TBA)
  • December 26 – First Sunday After Christmas
  • January 2 – Second Sunday After Christmas
    • Communion Sunday
  • January 9 – Epiphany Sunday/Baptism of the Lord

Good morning! For those who’ve worshiped with us before either in-person or online, welcome back. For those who are joining us for the first time this morning, we’re glad you here. Welcome home!

A few quick announcements:

On the back of the bulletin, you will find a list of dates starting next Sunday and going through January 9. As I said last week, Advent begins on Sunday, November 28th and continues through Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is the first day of Christmastide, the 12 days of Christmas. Normally, this season would end with the celebration of Epiphany, which is technically January 6, but we’ll be observing that celebration on January 9. There are three more dates I’m still working out and which will probably be offered as online only services. I hope to add those by next week.

Also on the back cover, you’ll see an announcement of the theme for this year’s Advent through Epiphany theme – Come Home for Christmas.

Okay! If you are worshiping online with us and haven’t done so, please consider signing up for our weekly worship bulletin email. There are connection card forms on our Facebook page and on our website that make it easy. We rarely send more than one email per week, but it keeps you up to date on each week’s worship plus upcoming activities and events.

Call to Worship

Stephen M. Fearing, Wild and Precious Life,

One: As we gather this day, each of us brings something to worship –
Many: We bring the burdens of the week.
One: We bring prayers of hope, and prayers of anguish.
Many: We bring our voices, and our offerings, and our questions.
One: We bring our faith, tattered or whole as it may be.
Many: We bring all this to each other and to God, whom we worship today.

Opening Prayer
Stephen M. Fearing, Wild and Precious Life,

Creator of all, Redeemer of all, Sustainer of all, we are gathered in your presence to stand side by side with those who have gone before us, who have lived the mystery of your grace and responded by following you on the way.

May your Holy Spirit guide us as we follow you to the places that you are calling your church to be.



Psalm 34:1-8  – UMH 769


Based on “Lord, I Thought I Knew” by Kwasi I. Kena, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, 40

Heavenly Father, like Job, when we ask for your presence and intervention, we will end up on knees, astounded at your greatness, and humbled by our own unworthiness.

Loving God, you hear our prayers: You live among us.

 Holy Spirit, when we tearfully share our hopes and dreams with you, you promise a harvest of joy. Fill us with expectations of your goodness.

Loving God, you hear our prayers: You live among us.

 Lord Jesus Christ, high priest and intercessor for our sins, help us live as your children, trusting that we are also children of the Heavenly Father.

Loving God, you hear our prayers: You live among us.

 Lord Jesus, healer of Bartimaeus’ blindness, help us see you in this world active in love, and help us see you by our side, so we may walk your way without stumbling.

Loving God, you hear our prayers: You live among us.

 Lord Jesus, Great Physician, hear now the names of those we know who need your healing as we silently lift their names to you.

Loving God, you hear our prayers: You live among us.

God we lift up to you our ongoing prayers and petitions …

  • For the eradication of COVID-19 in every form and an end to the pandemic
  • For protection of all innocents in Afghanistan, in all other war torn nations, and in all nations under authoritarian regimes, especially the women and girls of those nations.
  • For Haiti, for the coasts stricken by storms, for the states in the west stricken by drought and wildfires, and for all those first responders who are battling the effects of extreme weather caused by climate change
  • For the healing of the planet.
  • For the protection and preservation of democracy here and around the world
  • For an end to discrimination and oppression in any and all forms

The love of God has won. The new life has begun. May your love take root in our lives, and we may walk by faith as we pray the words your Son taught us,

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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.



Open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, gracious Lord, as we turn to your scripture. We long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed. Examine us, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth.


Our scriptures this morning are taken from the The Message.

Job 42:1-17 (NRSV)

Then Job answered the LORD: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.

The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.

He also had seven sons and three daughters.

He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch.

In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations.

And Job died, old and full of days.

Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”

So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”

Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Thanks be to God.

MESSAGE – Now My Eyes See

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. Amen.

Our scriptures today have two characters – Job and Bartimaeus – both of whom have vision problems.

Bartimaeus’ problem is that he is literally blind. Job, on the other hand, is not literally blind, but appears to have had some kind of vision problem, because he comments “now my eyes can see.”

There are some other differences between the two that we can talk about. For instance, Job’s story is in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. The period referred to as BC (Before Christ) or BCE (before common era). Bartimaeus’ story takes place during Jesus’ lifetime, so New Testament and AD (Ado Dominus which is the birth of Christ) or CE (Common Era).

Job’s story – we’ll get to the Cliff Notes version of that story in just a moment – is believed to be older than the Law that Moses delivered to the people of Israel. In fact, many scholars believe the book of Job is one of the oldest in the Bible. That does not mean that Job himself lived before anyone else in the Bible—he most certainly came after Adam! But there are hints that Job lived in a truly ancient time: It was Job himself who offered sacrifices for his family, instead of relying on a priest (Job 1:5; 42:7–8), and his wealth was measured in livestock, not gold (Job 1:3). It is likely that Job lived sometime between the flood and the time of Moses. Many scholars place Job in the patriarchal period, around the same time that Abraham lived (Genesis 11:28–29).

Bartimaeus’ story (and at least the last 33 years of his life) takes place during Jesus’ ministry, so after the Jewish people had been living under the Law for at least 1,250 years, possible a little longer.

OK, I mentioned I was going to give you the Cliff Note version of Job’s story. It goes like this. Job is a good and righteous man, extremely faithful to God, successful, and wealthy. In Job 1:1 we are told, This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. Job 1:3 tells of his success and wealth: He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. And Job 1:4 and 1:13 tell of his family and begin to give an indication of his age as we learn he had seven adult sons and three adult daughters at the beginning of his story, all of which had their own homes.

In the course of one day, Job receives four messages, each bearing separate news that his livestock, servants, and ten children have all died due to marauding invaders or natural catastrophes. Job tears his clothes and shaves his head in mourning, but he still blesses God in his prayers.

Just when you’d think things can’t get any worse, Job is afflicted with horrible skin sores. His wife encourages him to curse God and to give up and die, but Job refuses, struggling to accept his circumstances.

Along come four of his friends who sit with Job in silence for seven days out of respect for his mourning. On the seventh day, Job speaks and three of his friends respond with long-winded but poetic opinions on why Job is suffering: He has somehow sinned and offended God, his children died because they must have somehow brought punishment from God on themselves, and one even implies that whatever Job did to tick God off was so bad Job has actually gotten off easy.

Job calls the three out, tells them their opinions are worthless and asserts to them his own blamelessness, then wishes either for an intercessor to plead his case to God or for God to just end his life in order to relieve him of his suffering. His friends, of course, are offended, think Job’s reaction to them is proof of Job’s lack of fear of God, and point out that nothing good comes out of wickedness.

Job maintains his confidence in his blamelessness in spite of these criticisms, responding that even if he has done evil, it is his own personal problem. Furthermore, he believes that there is a “witness” or a “Redeemer” in heaven who will vouch for his innocence (16:19, 19:25).

One can only take so much of arguments and debates and unsolicited advice, so after a while Job grows sarcastic, impatient, and afraid. He laments the injustice that God lets wicked people prosper while he and countless other innocent people suffer. Job longs to confront God and complain, but he cannot physically find God to do it. He feels that wisdom is hidden from human minds, but he resolves to persist in pursuing wisdom by fearing God and avoiding evil.

Enter the fourth (and youngest friend). The young Elihu believes that Job has spent too much energy vindicating himself rather than God. Elihu explains to Job that God communicates with humans by two ways—visions and physical pain. He says that physical suffering provides the sufferer with an opportunity to realize God’s love and forgiveness when he is well again, understanding that God has “ransomed” him from an impending death (33:24). Elihu also assumes that Job must be wicked to be suffering as he is, and he thinks that Job’s excessive talking is an act of rebellion against God.

God finally interrupts, calling from a whirlwind and demanding Job to be brave and respond to his questions. God’s questions are rhetorical, intending to show how little Job knows about creation and how much power God alone has. God describes many detailed aspects of his creation, praising especially his creation of two large beasts, the Behemoth and Leviathan.

That is the Cliff Note version of Job up to today’s passage.

I believe you would find the Cliff Note version of Bartimaeus listed as “not available” since there isn’t enough to warrant even a small book. We are told very little about him.  We know he was the son of Timaeus, and one of two blind beggars in Jericho (Mark 10:46 and Matthew 20:30). We can fairly safely make some assumptions about him. He was poor – why else would one resort to begging? He most likely would have heard that Jesus was in his city, would probably have been hearing about the various miracles Jesus had been doing, and may have felt this was his only chance to get healed. We aren’t told explicitly why he’s blind, but the scripture contains a subtle clue that he probably wasn’t born blind. “Immediately he regained his sight …” is a pretty good indication he got back something he’d had before and then lost. 

That’s pretty much all we know about Bartimaeus.

 Let me summarize the two for you:

  • Bartimaeus is literally blind whereas Job has some other kind of blindness – remember in the passage, Job says, “now my eyes can see.”
  • Job is a good and upright man, faithful to God, who had and lost great wealth and possibly acclaim, and his entire family except for his wife; based on the lack of a backstory, Bartimaeus was presumably just an ordinary guy coming from an ordinary family … except for the blind part.
  • When Job lived, the Ten Commandments and those 600 plus other laws had not yet been delivered; Bartimaeus had been living under “the Law” all his life.
  • Both men have their “sight” restored – Job by God, Bartimaeus by Jesus who is God Incarnate.

One thing we need to understand about both men is that during the times they both lived, the Hebrew people attributed any suffering to be a direct result of and therefore punishment for having sinned against God … either the person suffering had sinned, or the person’s parents had sinned, and the sin of the parents was visited upon their child or children.

That’s why Job’s four friends took the position they did – that Job must be guilty of some kind of offense against God. That’s why many in the crowd told Bartimaeus to be quiet – they judged him a sinner because of his blindness, therefore unworthy of any consideration.

Again, we don’t know what caused Bartimaeus blindness, and we don’t know how long he’d been blind or what all he suffered during that time.  In Job’s case, we only know for certain of seven days that Job suffered as the scripture tells us his friends sat in silence with him for seven days while he mourned. Then there would be the time it took for the lengthy dialogues of his friends, for sacrificing seven bulls and seven rams, and Job himself hinted about months although it isn’t clear whether months have passed, or he’s simply accepted that he will have to suffer for months.

No matter how long Job and, for that matter, Bartimaeus actually suffered, it likely felt like an eternity, and I would think it would almost feel … at least at times … unbearable, wouldn’t you?

There are times in all our lives when things pile up on us, when we feel like we can’t be drug down any further without first digging a hole. There are times when everything seems to be going wrong and we can’t see the cause of the problem. There are times when things get so very bad or go so very wrong, when no matter how hard or how far we look, we can’t find a solution. There are times when all we can do is adapt and wait it out and wonder what’s to become of us.

And look beyond us … to our neighbors, our communities, others throughout the world. There are so many that know the very depths of human suffering and, though we hope and pray for them just as we pray for ourselves, some will never experience restoration in their earthly lifetimes. Like us in their sorrow they may question … and they may doubt … and … like us … they wait.   

In the song, Into Grace, Lenora Rand’s words speak to this waiting in the now and the not yet tension … the coexistence of suffering and of hope:


All I have to give today are questions

All I have to give are all my doubts

All that I can give You are the sorrows

No one knows about.

All I have to give today

Are failures

All I have to give’s a broken heart

All that I can give You are the wrong turns

That have left me marked


And in another song, Your Love Is Here, Rand writes:

I feel empty

I am worn out

There’s so much

I cannot see.

I am scared

I am scarred.

There’s so much

I can’t believe.


The verses are similar to what Job must have been feeling, to the life Bartimaeus must have been forced to accept before we arrive at today’s passages. They’re examples of what we and others feel when everything seems to be tumbling down around us.

The stories of Job and Bartimaeus have a message much greater than happy endings, though. Yes, Job’s patience and enduring loyalty to God was rewarded with two times everything he’d had before, and Bartimaeus’ sight was restored. But there is more in their stories.

Bartimaeus believed. It was his faith that Jesus said made him well, that allowed him to regain his sight. Bartimaeus had been living as a beggar and now, with his sight restored, he would be able to see all that he’d been missing, all that he’d missed. And yet, he hadn’t missed everything. He’d listened, he’d heard the rumors and stories of the man from Nazareth, and without seeing, he’d believed. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed. (John 20:29)

Songwriter Jessie Winchester captures that verse as he writes:

Why feel sorry for the blind man?

His soul is a bird on the wing

While you might have eyes like a eagle

And never see one blessed thing

And yet, not seeing one blessed thing was Job’s vision problem – a lack of vision. Oh, he worshiped God. He was faithful, blameless, and he continued to praise God even in his suffering, but like he himself said, “I heard you by the hearing of the ear …”. In other words, He’d believed in what he’d been told about God and believed faithfully, learned from his parents and others, did all those things one was supposed to do like make sacrifices to God. But he had never really seen God in all the things around him. And when he did, he declared, “Now my eyes see.”

All I have to give today

are questions

All I have to give are all my doubts

All that I can give You are the sorrows

No one knows about.

But You take me as I am

You take me where I am

You take me into mercy

And you don’t give up on me

Don’t give up on me

You love me through the shadows

Through the desert

Through the night

And you take me where I am

And lead me into mercy’s light

So we will sing:

Your love

is here

And it’s greater than our doubts.

You love is greater than our fear

Oh, we will sing:

Your love

is here

And it sees our broken hearts

And somehow it can heal

Your love

Is here.

God’s love is here … all around us … all the time. We only have to let our eyes see.  Jesus promised he is with us always … wherever we go … whatever we go through … whoever we encounter … we just need to let our eyes see.

(Stephen M. Fearing of the Wild and Precious blog)

Let’s pray

Merciful God, our thoughts and deeds too often do not reflect the grace you show us.

Our speech and actions too often do not proclaim your salvation.

Forgive us, Lord, for the sins that we bear both as individuals and as your Church.

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.

Our teacher, let us see again!

Give us the courage to take heart in your grace.

Give us the strength to get up.

Give us the wisdom to hear your calling.

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.           



Please join me in a prayer for our gifts this morning:

Extravagantly Generous God, there is nothing we have, there is nothing we require, there is nothing we long for that does not pale when placed beside the relationship you’ve offered to us. As we bring our gifts to you, remind us of the covenant you put before Israel: “If they will be my people I will be their God.” Receive what we give in gratitude for your invitation, and help us be your people, reflected in our love for you and for all your children. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who gave all there was to give for us.



Harry A. Vanderwindt, From Darkness into Light – Christ Reformed Church

Thank you for being here this morning, whether in-person or through our live-stream and I hope you found some value in today’s service.

Now hear this benediction:

Gracious God, as we are about to leave this worship service, we look to You for a blessing on our journey through life. We pray that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will be with each one.


Today’s worship service is dismissed.


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