Friday, September 23, 2016

Pentecost 19 - Proper 21

Luke 16:19-31
Concern about the Unconcerned

The root of the problem in our parable is how to get people like the rich man to be concerned about the hungry, the sick, the poor. The facts are all there. Some have more than they need. Others have only poverty. How can we get the rich to share with the poor? It does little good to describe the rich man’s wealth and poor man’s plight. It is all clear to us. The question asked of us is this where is your compassion? Are you even concerned? 

1. Fear the consequences of not caring – Vv. 22-24 - The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 

 From Amos 6:7 the prophet warns, “Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.” 

America has never had it so good. Compared with the rest of the world. We are the envy of the world. Eight words sum up this nation’s blessings, “America, America, God shed His grace of thee…” 

Even the poorest Americans have it better than most third-world countries. People from almost every conceivable country are trying to get into our nation legally and illegally. America remains the land of plenty. How do we react to our wealth? Are we grateful? Do we return in kind? Do we bless others as we have been blessed? 

Bringing it closer to home, this will be the eighth year we have sponsored Pack Away Hunger. 80,000 meals will be assembled the weekend of March 30 and April 1. We host this event annually the weekend before the start of Holy Week. It is our way of reaching out to our community in a way that is both significant and tangible. Why so? Over half of the students of North Adams qualify for free and reduced lunch. The Heroes Back Pack program feeds students from our community every weekend. Hunger still exists. Even in our own back yard. 

2. Love for brothers and sisters – V. 28 “for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” 

Consider all as brothers and sisters. Especially those in need. In the world’s family, three are overfed. And five are hungry. There is a spiritual aspect to the vocation of farming. We mention this in our prayers. “May we see by this noble vocation our farmers feed the world.” This is true. Where would this world be without the American farmer? 

Do you see the result of all of your labors? Once you sell your grain what happens to it? It is used to feed another portion of the world. This is why we end our petition with the phrase, “…and cause all people who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.” 

3. Have a father-son/daughter relationship – Vv. 24-25 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” The rich man refers to Abraham as his father. And Abraham calls the rich man “son.” If God is our Father. We are His children. We care for the other members of His family. This is the Father’s will. This refers to the relationships we have within our own families, within our Friedheim family as well as those relationships we have with others at work, at school, and in the world. We are compelled to reach out to others with the love and compassion of Christ. 

4. Hear the Word –“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ V. 31 

The Word of God, the Bible – Law and Prophets – and the Incarnate Word in Jesus teach us to love one another by caring and sharing. But especially do we heed the Incarnate Word –the words of Jesus Christ. This is the only message we have. The world has no other. If our lives are to be changed. If we are to influence the lives of others. There is no other source. There is no other tool. We have only the inspired, infallible, inerrant, Word of our Lord. 

Lord, teach us to love one another by caring and sharing. Use me to be an instrument of Your love in the life of someone this week. 

Face of Christ -
Words – 870
Passive Sentences –2%
Reading Ease –78.9%
Reading Level – 5.2

No comments: