Monday, November 15, 2010
Feeling Like Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers —so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31
A day after a very full weekend, I turned the alarm on snooze several times. And then when I finally got up, I groaned like a very old man. Hobbling to the bathroom, bent and listing, I wondered how today would go and whether I would ever return to some sense of normalcy. It is horrible to be blown completely off course by a church fair and to have one's body act up at the same time. Oh, I pushed to hard, and it is my fault, but be that as it may, I was feeling very old and broken this morning. I was feeling like Lazarus laying on the steps waiting from a crumb of energy, begging for God to heal my foolish self. As I went to work, I watched the younger, more agile people running for the train. They didn't even notice the bend over woman struggling to work.
We can all feel like Lazarus from time to time. And yet, more often, we find ourselves in the role of the un-named rich man breezing by the poor man, never noticing and never helping. We can feel like Lazarus and act like the callous wealthy no matter our station and status in this life. And Jesus tells his disciples this story to remind them how God has a place of comfort and healing waiting for the poor and broken, and has little patience with those who think themselves better than others and too busy to stop and help.
Today, I pray for the eyes to see the Lazarus around me, the heart to respond to their needs and the willingness to risk my own station to share a bit of care with another.