September 25, 2016
Readings for this Sunday:
Amos 6:1a, 4-7 • Psalm 146 • 1 Timothy 6:6-19 • Luke 16:19-31
Lazarus and "Dives"
Little seems to have changed since we met in the spring for Aftertalk. Perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise. Luke's story of poor Lazarus, in death comfortable in the arms of Abraham, and the unknown rich man suffering in Hades after an apparent life of leisure and complacency may speak deeply to us... or it may make no impact whatsoever! What do you think?
The parable is notable in part because it doesn't seem to leave us with any obvious question or a challenge. Karl Barth spoke of God's persistent "YES" to us, but this story is filled with inaction. God's "no" to "Dives" as Martin Luther King referred to him--a transliteration of the Greek word for "rich"--in his sermon at the Washington National Cathedral four days prior to being shot and killed dominates. "No" to sending Lazarus once more in service to comfort Dives. "No" to sending Lazarus to his brothers in warning as if their unequal social status persists beyond the grave.
So what do or can we make of this story? What has it to say to us? How might it connect to the conversation about black and brown lives and a chasm of perception and lived experience that seems to be splitting this country in two? Is there a balm in Gilead?
Resources for your Reflection