Great Plains Daily Devotional for 10/17/18

Today please be in prayer for

Sterling, KS: First UMC
Hutchinson District
First Presbyterian Church of Wilson
Wilson UMC
Hutchinson District
Bishop Han Theological College
District Superintendent
Hutchinson District

Today's Lectionary Text

Luke 16:19-31 

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Today's Devotional

Every time the lectionary comes around to this passage from Luke I find myself with questions that usually include some version of:
  • In a society that seems to be consistently focused on how to get, have or achieve more (especially money), how do I present an alternative way of living as a Christian in a way that is heard and not dismissed as “more of that crazy Jesus stuff”?
  • How do I deal with the chutzpah of the rich man thinking he can ask for help from Hades?
  • Do those in torment – for apparently justifiable reasons in my mind – deserve the torment?
  • Isn’t it interesting that it is usually the rich or powerful who are named in the Bible but this time we instead learn the name of the poor beggar, Lazarus?
  • And, recognizing that I have a position of power (age, education, professional status, ethnicity), when have I presumed on my power and ignored someone I could have helped in some way?
 
These are not easy questions. There are no easy answers. I find this passage to be one that challenges me as a pastor to “afflict the comfortable” instead of or in addition to “comforting the afflicted” (borrowing language that was first used in relation to the role newspapers have in society and has since come to be applied to the work of God or the work of the church). It is part of several passages that convey a similar message or provide a similar challenge to those who are “comfortable” in life or in faith. Sometimes the Good News doesn’t appear so “good.”
 
And yet, in the midst of the challenges of this passage, I am reminded through the words Abraham shares with the rich man that God has already provided all that is needed for our salvation: Jesus Christ.
                         Rev. Karen Jeffcoat
Registrar, Board of Ordained Ministry

Prayer for Reflection

May my heart, head and hands know the transforming presence of Christ in my life today. And may I be the physical presence of Christ in the life of someone else. Amen.
 

 

 

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