Our Sister Phoebe, a Deacon

Theological musings inspired by the Spirit and totally Ellen…

>What Goes Around . . .

>This last Sunday’s gospel tells us that our actions on Earth will be an indication of how we’ll be treated, or expect to be treated in the Hereafter. The parable is about the Rich man and Lazarus — not the Lazarus who was a friend of Jesus and the brother of Mary and Martha, the Lazarus raised from the dead before the Passion, but Lazarus the poor, sick man who lay outside the great house of the Rich Man waiting for a scrap of food from his table. Lazarus was covered with sores, so one can safely assume he wasn’t a pretty sight — the neighborhood dogs would stop by to lick his wounds. We don’t know how long Lazarus lay outside the house, but he died and was taken by angels to be with Abraham. I imagine the scene in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Little Princess” when Sarah wakes and discovers that her attic bedroom has been turned into a comfortable little nest full of warm and soft things, good food and a fire in the hearth. Sarah probably thought she’d gone to heaven. Not so for the Rich Man. He was buried and his soul went to Hell, where he suffered. Seeing Lazarus beside Abraham, the Rich Man implores Abraham to let Lazarus put a drop of water on his parched tongue, but Abraham will have none of it and tells him that a chasm is between them, placed there undoubtedly because of the Rich Man’s lack of compassion and regard for others. Fearful for his brothers still living, the Rich Man asks that they be warned to amend their lives so that they will not suffer his fate; Abraham replies that they should listen to Moses and the prophets. The Rich Man continues to beg and Abraham ends their conversation by stating that if they will not heed the lessons and messages of Moses and the prophets, they certainly won’t believe a man risen from the dead.

Good advice.

How much time out of a busy day does it take to help out at a soup kitchen or pantry, a hot meal program? An hour, maybe two — the time spent working out at the gym or working late at the office. Our lives are so hectic, so plugged-in, so scheduled that we value every single free moment we have, and rightfully so. But here’s an idea: Why not take one of those busy days out of the month to help someone less fortunate than yourself? And may I suggest that you do it not to win brownie points with God but to improve someone’s day, if only for a moment. Those moments add up and you might find yourself looking at the world a little differently, seeing that the Kingdom of Heaven is a place where no one has to lie outside a rich man’s house for table scraps, or a drop of water, but all are treated with the same respect and dignity, where equality comes before wealth.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

Ellen+

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