Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, September 26, 2010
In Hades, where he was being tormented, [Dives] 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.'
Luke 16: the Gospel reading for Sunday, September 26th RCL
[ the full reading can be found here: http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearC_RCL/Pentecost/CProp21_RCL.html ]
This is a parable of Jesus about the human choice for Life. On Sept 20, I wrote a Reflection in which I said:
The search for God is the search for our Humanity, individually and corporately. As the mystics tell us, in speaking of the Unitive Way, there is no distinction between the two. Jesus was clear in His deepest Prayer: “May they be One as You and I are One”.
As long as we think there is a distinction between “God” and “Us”, we live in that dreaded gulf which the rich man Dives discovered. He died to find that he was separated from God and that the destitute beggarman at his gate lay in the bosom of Abraham. He could only gaze - and never the twain should meet.
There is no “separate” God Who sits outside of you or me, acting like some temperamental, spoiled, petty, feudal, Oriental monarch, to whose whim we are arbitrarily and capriciously made victim.
God is You, Me. Until we accept this at its deepest Mystery, we shall only gaze like Dives across an unbridgeable Gulf, where our true Self lies in God’s bosom and we cannot be whole.
The parable today is not about being rich or poor in worldly terms. It is about either being one with “God” or not. Unity with “God” leads to the “bosom of Abraham”; the lack of unity with “God” leads to “Hades”.
As you worship this Sunday, think about what you understand by “God”. This is the key question. The understanding of “God” is very disparate across the religious World, including the Christian world. Frankly, most of the Christian understandings of “God” I reject. They are usually projections of human fear, ignorance, venality.
God, for me, is only ultimately Compassion: the unity of all human hearts with the struggle, suffering, beauty, and wonder of being Human.
Live not your Dives. Live your Lazarus.