On Being Touched

by John Pacheco, Rector, Men’s 96

Shortly after I had agreed to serve as rector on Men’s 96, I was reminded I needed to choose a scripture passage for the weekend. I immediately thought of my favorite Bible passage, the healing of a blind man at Bethsaida as shared by Mark 8:22–26:

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some
people brought a blind man and begged
Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind
man by the hand and led him outside
the village. When he had spit on the
man’s eyes and put his hands on him,
Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people;
they look like trees walking
around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on
the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were
opened, his sight was restored, and
he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus
sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go
into the village.” NIV 1984

I realized the passage was too long to fit on the name tags, so I chose to focus on verse 25 as the weekend scripture. I also decided that at team meetings and on the weekend we would tune into the entire passage. The passage is attractive to me because it not only raises questions but also allows me to put myself into the picture in a variety of roles. It is a reminder of my personal journey in faith, through my dark valleys of disappointments, rejections, confusions, and losses, as well as an affirmation of final healing, restoration, and redemption. I am reminded of Jesus’ ability to come to me, and to keep coming back with his gifts of unconditional love, grace and healing. When I struggle to get beyond my innate stubbornness, I am also reminded that I have to go back to him repeatedly, even when I don’t feel like it!

While I often wish I could be like Saul and have an “instant conversion” experience, God has chosen to make himself known to me in a gradual process. I don’t always get it clear the first time he’s there, and he comes back and touches me repeatedly until I see everything clearly. I pray frequently for discernment and for patience in the process.

As I called the team together, this continual process of being touched by Jesus, of his coming and touching me, and/or of my going to him to be touched became increasingly evident. At each encounter, my eyes opened to a further understanding of his will for me. By the end of the weekend, I am likely to be referred to as being a little bit ”touched!.” I am already feeling it! The healing in the verses also parallels my personal vocation and career as a counselor, as well as the mission of Tres Dias, “to make a friend, be a friend, and to bring that friend to Christ.”

I mentioned earlier that the entire passage leaves us with questions. Why do you think Jesus took the blind man by the hand “out of the village,” and why do you think he sent him home saying, “Don’t even go into the village?” Any feedback would be appreciated. On behalf of the team and candidates, I thank you for your prayers and palanca now, throughout the weekend and in our Fourth Days.

You can respond to John by sending an email to jpacheco231@gmail.com.

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From the President (In the latest Upper room Newsletter)

My original intention for this letter was to focus on this time of the year. Summer has passed and now autumn has begun. Fall is upon us once again – Harvest time.

Then I picked up my Bible to see what it had to say about harvest. The first passage I read sent my thoughts in an entirely new direction. Here is what the Good Word says:

Then he said to his disciples “The Harvest is plentiful but the
workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send
out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

Jesus said something similar when he referred to his followers as “fishers of men.” Those words were spoken to two of his disciples.

Here, Jesus was looking at the crowds following him and referred to them as a field ripe for harvest.

We as a community are richly blessed with many workers, people who will gladly go out into our “harvest field” to seek out those who are (or perhaps might be) thirsty for His word, who want to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would lead them to that point. All of us, including myself, need to have faith in ourselves, or rather, faith in how the Spirit of the Lord will use us to reach out to others.

Jesus commands us to pray that people will respond to his need for workers. Often, when we pray for something, God answers our prayers by using us.

Be prepared and open for God to use you to show another person the way to Him. Ask Him who he is putting on your heart to sponsor, so that he or she will experience a love-filled, thought provoking wonderful three days.

De Colores!
Mark Thunem, President