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I was Hungry

i was hungryWelcome to church this morning! It’s my prayer that you feel welcomed and a special part of our worship gathering today.

Such a sense of belonging and community is in stark contrast to the situation described in Luke’s gospel today.

Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to an audience who would have expected a very different outcome. The prevailing belief that disease and misfortune were the natural consequences of sin blinded the Rich Man (ie the Pharisees) to recognise the needs of Lazarus (ie the people) or respond with any compassion.

The Pharisees’ preoccupation with wealth and status and the finest points of the interpretation of Jewish Scripture blinded them to the real needs of the people God had placed in their care.

In the parable, Jesus uses Abraham, one of the greatest of the Old Testament heroes, to illustrate the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom; where the world’s values are replaced by God’s values.

This parable remains a challenge for 21st century believers who still wrestle with the implications of Jesus’ message.

What is true wealth? How do we share our wealth with those less fortunate? Who are the social rejects by our gate today whom we avoid or overlook?

How do we extend God’s love and compassion in a way that makes a real difference in a troubled and material world?

 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” [Matt 25:35 ESV]

Alan

Sunday 29th September 2013

GOSPEL   Luke 16: 19-31    The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He 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.” 25But 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. 26Besides 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.” 27He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” 29Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” 30He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31He 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.” ’  

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