Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, September 26 2010

"Well I'll be damned!" : a funny sermon title I'm flagrantly plaguarizing for my sermon this week.  It might just be what the rich man in this parable says in the end.  Funny.  Ironic.  Painful.  Fitting.  It's all about perspective, it's what Jesus is talking about.  This rich guy never helped, let alone noticed, Lazarus laying like a sick dog on his doorstep.  He was unimportant until the rich man needed his help.  It's a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken's A Chrismas Carol. A wealthy, arrogant man who claims to need no one, or to have anyone worthy of his friendship, until his eyes are opened to life  in general - and his life in particular - by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.  In this parable the scrooge character doesn't get it.  He's read and hear the Torah and Prophets every day of his life as he followed the prescriptions for good faithful living (as articulated in Deuteronomy 6:1-12).  That obviously didn't change his heart or his perspective.  Would the ghosts of Christmas, or someone returning from the dead, make any other change?

For us it's not just a question about the end of life, looking back over what we've done and where we've been.  It's also about today.  How are we living?  Are we willing to change?  Are we open to letting the Spirit of God not simply move our hearts, but move us to change, in response to the Living WORD of God in our life?  Often times folks have asked me a reocuring theological question about redemption:  if you ask for forgiveness, if you come to Christ in that last moment of life, wether you're a kind old lady, a violent prisoner on death row, or the victim of abuse, will you know salvation?  A hard question.  But maybe a harder question is for us, where we are here and now.  If we knew what life is about, and who we live for, why aren't we more open to change?; in our personal lives, our families, our church communities and our cities?

A wise friend (thanks Karl!) turned me on to a great song by Tracy Chapman "Change" that asks the same question as the parable in music form.  Here's a link to the Lyrics and a video clip.

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