September 29, 2019
16th Sunday after Pentecost
‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.
The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.”
But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.”
He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’
Something to Do
Heed Moses and the prophets – and the One who rose from the dead
The teachings of Jesus, particularly in the gospel according to Luke, are very clear: wealth may offer comfort in this life but it poses a danger to our true well-being, preventing us from standing in true solidarity with those in need.
How will you stand in solidarity this week? How will you give your wealth away? If you have children in your household, include them in the conversation and the action.
Join with the prophets to warn the rich man’s family
Climate science warns us that we will not have to wait until death for the torment of drought – a torment that will come first to the poorest people in the world.
Join in the Global Climate Strike on Friday, Sept 27th and call on the world’s leaders to make the necessary changes to address the crisis that is upon us.
Meet at Ascension at 10:45 to walk together or gather with the masses in Confederation Park at 11:30.
Something to Wonder
I suspect that none of us believes in an afterlife quite as described in this week’s parable. But what do you believe about the afterlife? What would you tell a child? A non-believer? A trusted friend?
Lazarus and You
We are all familiar with the experience of passing by people in need as we go about our daily lives, slipping by outstretched cups and sleeping bodies.
How do you react? Do you notice? What do you feel or think about as you go by? And what do you feel or think about how you react?
Something to Learn
Heaven & Hell in Jewish Thought
There are many ideas about the afterlife in Jewish thought, both from Biblical times and beyond. Here are a few articles from some different Jewish traditions.
- From Reform Judaism: Do Jews Believe in the Afterlife? by Rabbi Evan Moffic
- From the Chabad movement (an Orthodox Hasidic movement): What Happens After Death? by Shlomo Yaffe and Yanki Tauber
- From My Jewish Learning (part of a nondenominational North American Jewish media org): Heaven and Hell in Jewish Tradition by Rabbi Or N. Rose
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.