Friday, September 28, 2007

Pentecost +18 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +18 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 16:19-31

O what a bosom has Abraham (apparently the author didn't exactly see Sarah, so she shows up in this elliptical phrasing). Likewise we see things that aren't there and overlook other matters. Here the poor is named and the rich unnamed. Quite a reversal. However, that doesn't suit our need for hierarchy and so we force a made-up name on the rich fool - Dives.

We do so want to be in control. Even the unnamed, when finally waking up to their loss of place, desire to be known as the salvation of others and begin to do all they know - order others to do their bidding and to understand that their options they open will be willingly jumped through by others. So the dead rich guy sets up salvation rules: someone dead must come back to get the attention of the attention-dead and warn of what nature and tradition around have been saying for millennia. Then they'll be saved and thankful and come and bring me a sip of cool water (are you listening, Dan?).

What a ruse the old dead guy plots for his own relief. Appeal to their religious sentiments, who could give up playing the savior role? Well Abraham and Sarah and Lazarus saw through it. If those left trying to make sense of life aren't willing to pay attention to human experience beyond their own, they aren't willing to pay attention to anything. Their rules for making money or making salvation, without the experience of what their rules do to others, will come to naught.

So who's experience are you listening to today? Was it the experience of those who received the meatloaf you doled out at the mealsite last night - portioning out crumbs to 242 Lazari? Was it the experience of setting rules for confirmation or which bills get paid or who gets a visit? Was it preparing an experiential sermon or a guided meditation for folks who only want to use their ears and to have every moment filled?

= = = = = = =

prevenient grace for those in hades
must not be put aside
in favor of judgment's chasm
so wide it can prevent grace

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