This Sunday, just before the government shut down in a failed attempt to deny health care to millions of our citizens, I preached about the rich man and Lazarus. You know, the one whose only health care plan came from dogs licking his wounds. In a society where wealth was associated with goodness and divine favor, the rich man had every reason to believe that he was the good guy. Little did he know, he was headed straight to hell. Every time the rich man left his house, perhaps on his way to meet with the power brokers of his day, he must have had to step over Lazarus, but he did not see him. Although they were physically close to each other, between them a chasm had been fixed. The name Lazarus means “God helps.” We know that God helped Lazarus, as God helps all the poor and sick of the world. But what if God also sent Lazarus to help save the rich man’s soul, placing him by that gate for a reason? What if one day, instead of stepping over this suffering person, the rich man invited him in to his house to share a meal or let a doctor take a look at those sores that covered his body? Lazarus would have been spared earthly suffering and the rich man would have been spared the eternal fires of hell. I believe God intended for them to save each other. I also believe God intends for us, the richest nation on earth, to have universal health care. Like the rich man in this parable, we too have fixed a chasm between the haves and the have nots and it is growing every day. Some suffer in this life. Others will suffer in the next. None of this suffering is necessary. Sure inviting Lazarus into the big house, to share the same meal receive the same medical care that the “master” always enjoyed might be a scandal, but I am thinking it might be worth it
so tomorrow is Sunday, sooo I am fixin to preach, taking my text from Jeremiah 23:23-29 in which, once again, the hard yet saving message of the true prophet calling for true worship that demands justice for the widow, the orphan, the last and the least, is rejected in favor of the soothing yet damning, revised version, watered down so as not to offend the military, religious, and political elite. In Jeremiah’s day, both true prophets and false prophets claimed to “have a dream” but not all of those dreams came from a just and loving God. Fifty years after that first historic march on Washington, King’s “I have a dream” speech is quoted by many, rarely in context, while true prophecy remains a costly calling.
fixin to preach tomorrow, Genesis 15:1-6 – in which God’s promise to Abram and Sarai to make of them a great nation seems to be seriously delayed. We all live most of our lives in that space between promise and fulfillment, but there’s another tension there – between wanted the blessing that comes TO us and the bigger blessing that comes THROUGH us. How Big Is God’s Blessing?