Friday, September 20, 2013

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 29, 2013 - Luke 16:19-31

How tempting that we read this tale
As if we are allied
With Lazarus, whose sores dogs licked,
Until, at Abra'm's side,
He saw the justice done unto
The man who ate his fill,
Without a glance at brother Laz,
Or gestures of goodwill;
We make it out a moral tale
That we should be "more" good,
And be not arrogant or proud,
And humbly share our food -
Or else! That's partly true, except
Just skip the fear and shame,
Since showing God is "just" to all
Is always our Lord's aim;
That is, the nature of the One
Who made both great and small
Is that the gifts of God who loves
Come, without fail, to all!
But why the torment? You might ask,
Does such a thing exist?
Or as his wont, a parable
By Jesus 'bout the risk
Of thinking that, when we've been blessed
But then, things turn out bad,
It seems that those once down and out
Should dare not then be glad
Because God's gifts have come to them!
Instead, with tables turned,
Our hell is thinking that we're owed
By those whom we had spurned;
Thus, Jesus rises from the dead
So we will always know
God's work of giving everything
Makes giving what we owe.

Scott L. Barton

“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.’”

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