Interruptions are a part of life. I’ve been talking with someone when they suddenly say, “Oh. Something just came up. I need to go.” Or, I have been the interrupter. I notice the time and realize that I am late for something.
One approach to the interruptions that surround us each day is grace. When someone is abrupt and says, “I need to go,” we can choose to be okay with it. We never know what’s happening on the other side. It could be an emergency, or it might not. Regardless of the reason, by reacting with grace, we exemplify Christ. If we need to interrupt another person, we can apologize, explain the situation, and, if we are abandoning a conversation, call back later.
Jesus encountered interruptions all the time. Once, he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd. I can imagine that everyone had expectations for him. As he walked along, the blind beggar Bartimaeus called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People tried to hush Bartimaeus but he kept calling. He was not only interrupting Jesus and the crowd. He was also disruptive.
Jesus did not get irritated. He did not bemoan people always asking him for things. He stopped and stood still. He called the man to him and asked what he wanted. The man said, “I want to see.” Walter Brueggemann expands what Mark omits in the man’s response. We can interpret the man’s response to include him saying, “I want to be whole. I want access to public life. If I get my eyes, I will quit this begging. I want my dependency to end.”
Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52 shows us one way to respond to interruptions. Jesus healed the man. He took time to respond. We might not have the power to heal. Yet, how we handle interruptions are an opportunity to show God’s grace.