“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”
Luke 16:31 (Message)
We know Father God that Jesus announced your mercy for all. Help us to share that Good News with those who are yet to be convinced of its message.
We welcome our preacher this morning who is Mr Tim Guy
After service tea hosts Bob and Evelyn
Organist: Joan McGowan
Sunday 2nd October
11.00am Mr David Young
Vestry Steward – Elizabeth
Door Steward – Val
Tea Hosts – Val and Betti
Sun 25th Messy Church here at Caergwrle 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Mon 26th “Time Out” a monthly reflective worship 2.00pm at the home of Barry and Angela Smith
Mon 26th Alpha Course at Gresford 6.30pm
Tue 27th Every Day with Jesus Study Group 10.30am
Tue 27th Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am
Tue 27th Harvest Meal at Rhosymedre 1.00pm
Wed 28th Midweek Communion at Regent Street 11.15am
Fri 30th Macmillan Coffee Morning at Masonic Hall 10.30am – 12.30am
Fri 30th Friday Lunch Club in the Hall. £3.00
Fri 30th Harvest Festival at Overton 6.30pm
Mon 3rd Harvest Supper at Overton 6.30pm
Sat 8th Workshop on Depression in the lounge 9.30am
Mon 10th Church Council meeting 7.30pm
Please pray for the following:
Keith and Myra Baugh
Pete and Ruby Kasprowicz
All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.
Macmillan Coffee Morning
Pat Jenner is holding a coffee morning at the Masonic Hall on the High Street this Friday 30th Sep 10.30am to 12.30am in aid of Macmillan Nurses. Your support would be greatly appreciated.
We were saddened to hear of Vanessa’s death last Sunday following a sustained period of poor health. Her funeral will be here on Monday 3rd October at 1.45pm followed by a service at the crematorium at 3.00pm.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ian and Diane and the family.
On Stretching Parables
One of the things I’ve learned from writing daily devotions over the last eighteen months is that biblical passages stretch further than we sometimes imagine. Indeed, what I’ve really learned is that sometimes we need to stretch them to make them useful to us. This Sunday’s parable is a prime example. But I’d like to address one thing up front about the parable before inviting you to consider stretching it.
A lot of folks — especially folks who come from traditions descended from the Reformation — become rather uncomfortable in the presence of parables like this one because we fear it runs contrary to our notions of “justification by grace through faith.” After all, if the rich man and Lazarus are both translated immediately to different conditions in the afterlife based entirely on their actions and condition in their earthly lives, what room is left for grace or faith? Two things in response.
First, a parable is a parable, not a complete systematics. Parables aren’t told to give you a complete theological system or to address ultimate questions once and for all. They are meant to give us a glimpse — often surprising, even jarring glimpses — into the kingdom of God. They present various slivers of the “kingdom logic” of the God who regularly surprises us with God’s compassion and concern. So maybe this parable isn’t interested in explaining to us how people get to heaven but rather invites us to look at the people around us — right here, right now — from the perspective of this peculiar logic of God.
Second, and related, should we be surprised that this parable conveys that God is really, really concerned for the poor? God’s unrelenting care and compassion for the poor and vulnerable is a major topic of both testaments. So if this parable seems to push that concern to the extreme, perhaps it’s to grab and refocus our attention on a theme that is consistently present in Scripture but only inconsistently present in our thoughts and actions.
Having said that, I want now to invite you to stretch the parable by imagining a different one, or at least a different ending. I’ve long thought that the chasm set between the rich man and Lazarus in heaven is only the manifestation of the one that existed in their earthly lives as well. Although the rich man apparently made no attempt to relieve the suffering of Lazarus, it’s not that he didn’t know him, or even that Larazus was invisible to him. After all, in the afterlife he not only recognizes Lararus but refers to him by name. Moreover, he continues to treat Larazus as if he were a servant, asking that Abraham send him to bring a drop of water and, failing that, to warn his brothers. The rich man, that is, continues to fail to treat Larazus as a person, as an equal, as one deserving of compassion and regard.
Must we continue to act that way? Might we imagine a different ending to this parable? Indeed, given Abraham’s reference to a man rising from the dead, aren’t we invited to? We have, after all, seen a man put to death for caring for the poor, for announcing God’s mercy for all, for daring to forgive the sins of any, and we have heard the testimony that this man was raised from the dead and vindicated by God as the supreme embodiment of God’s kingdom logic and royal love.
Many good sermons on this passage have invited us to identify with Lazarus or, more frequently, with the rich man who paid Lazarus no heed. But could we this time instead imagine that we are one of the rich man’s brothers and sisters and that though we have the law and prophets yet God saw fit also to send a man from the dead to awaken us? In this context, I’m struck by how small are the requests the rich man makes: a drop of water, a messenger to tell others. Might we not do these very things, bringing a measure of relief to others and telling all we meet that God desires we care for each other?
David Lose, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, USA