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Summary: A sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost Proper12 The rich man and Lazarus

18th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 21

Lectionary 26

September 30th

Luke 16: 19-31


"Eat, Drink ?"

9* “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

20* And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores,

21* who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22* The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;

23* and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’

25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house,

28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’

29* But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

30* And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

31* He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’”

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

"It’s probably too late. The damage is done. Perhaps I should have handed out ear plugs earlier. The least we could and should have done is to have printed a warning in the bulletin or newsletter. Maybe I should have cautioned you ahead of time about the contents of the message today from Luke’s gospel: this parable is problematic and quite possible hazardous to your peace of mind! The parable seems to gnaw and nags on people’s hearts. It lingers and lasts- like those greasy foods you know that you shouldn’t have eaten- but that you snuck anyway- and you know that you’ll pay the price for hours and even days to come. So if you find yourself sitting in traffic this and you find yourself thinking about Lazarus, just remember that I told you so! If the parable pops up as your poking around the park, well what can I say? And as you go about your daily work, don’t be surprised to find the parable working its way to the surface when you least expect it. You might even find yourself pushed or pulled you in a direction that you never dreamed of going. This parable is powerful and it has changed peoples lives in totally unexpected ways. .

And that’s what happened to Albert. At the age of 29, Albert had it all- fame and fortune and a fantastic career as a concert organist and interpreter of Bach. He was well respected. He was happy- that is , until he heard this parable about Lazarus. And this parable gnawed at him and nagged at him. Albert couldn’t get this story out of his heart and his mind. It wouldn’t let him go until he gave in- and gave it up. And so he did. Albert gave up his brilliant musical career up to enter medical school. Now most of his friends thought he was crazy to give up his musical career. to train as a physician. But Albert knew that God was calling him and that he had to answer God’s call to be a missionary doctor and to go Africa. And so Albert Schweitzer, one of the great humanitarians of our century, established a missionary hospital in Africa and ministered to the physical and spiritual needs of thousands of people. This story changed Albert’s life. And who knows maybe, this parable will change your life too!" (1)

Does this parable gnaw at you? Do you feeling guilty when reading it? Should you feel guilty hearing it?

This is a most difficult parable. Does this parable condemn wealth?

What do you think about Dives? What do you think about Lazarus?

There are a lof of questions this parable asks of us. We are going to try and answer a few of them this morning.

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