This weekend we are looking at the story of Lazarus.
No. Not that Lazarus.
This is not Jesus’s best friend. Not the brother of Mary and Martha, who lived in Bethany. Who died in Bethany. Who rose from the grave looking like a mummy coming from the tomb. The friend over whom Jesus wept.
This is a different Lazarus.
This is a poor wretch. A beggar who lives at the gate of a rich man’s estate. He is so poor that there is not even enough fabric on his body to protect him from the local dogs who come and lick the bloody sores on his body. He longed for mere crumbs from his wealthy neighbor’s table, but alas there was no one who would slake his hunger.
On the same night, both Lazarus and the rich man die. Lazarus is carried away by the angels to heaven to rest in Abraham’s arms. The rich man is carried below to the place of eternal torment. And between them a great canyon is set up, but it is one where they can see and communicate with one another.
The rich man then begs Abraham to have the poor wretch Lazarus come and quench his thirst from the fires of Hell – not appreciating the irony. But alas, says the patriarch, it is too late.
The rich man then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers so that they might avoid his same fate, in something of a Christmas Carol style scare up. But the wise patriarch says they have their warnings in the scriptures – no one rising from the dead will change their minds. (Per se even the Christ.)
Coming so close to his teaching about the shrewd manager, this parable offers many profound lessons to be sure. Key among them are how well are we paying attention to those around us? Our own neighbors? Our own garden gates?
Something to ponder – see you in worship.
Blessings, Pastor Janie