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Saturday, April 10, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 16

Not too long ago I reconnected with a friend from my high school years. She was a wonderfully vivacious person who had lots of energy and was fun to be around. She was the epitome of what it meant to be alive.

Sadly, this person was diagnosed with cancer last year. Her diagnosis came late so the cancer was very advanced. She is now in the position of living out her final days. She is doing so with lots of grace and courage.

What I found interesting is that many of her former friends from high school have been made aware of our friend’s plight. Sadly, most have not reached out to her.

And why is that?

There are lots of various reasons I suppose. One reason would be because it’s been over 20 years and people may feel like because they haven’t stayed in touch with her that they don’t know her any more. Another reason, however, might be because they fear if they re-establish contact with our friend who is dying, they might be forced to deal not only with our friend’s mortality but their own as well. It might be easier to stay disconnected and in denial than re-connect and grapple with some of life’s biggest questions.

In today’s reading from Luke, Jesus introduced us to two very different individuals: a rich man and a poor man named Larazus. The two men not only shared different experiences in the here and now, but following their deaths we are told they went on to have two very different experiences as well. Larazus went on to experience torment while the poor man went on to experience bliss.

One of the lessons Jesus was putting out there to challenge us with was that there are consequences to the choices we make. That lesson had been out there for the entire lifetime of the rich man – yet he failed to learn it until after his death. To his credit, once he realized this he asked to be allowed to return to his loved ones to help get that lesson across to them. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to do so. He was told it was up to his loved ones who were still alive to learn that lesson for themselves.

While the imagery of the story can be uncomfortable for us progressives to deal with since our experience of God is typically one steeped in values like grace, unconditional love, and mercy; there is an important lesson here for us to mine. That lesson is this: our lives should have a sense of urgency about them in terms of addressing the important things in our lives. We shouldn’t put off living in those ways that we think are important because we may not always have the time to make those choices later.

Today I would encourage you to explore your own life and see if there are lessons that you may have learned in your head but have failed to integrate into your life. If so, use today’s passage as motivation to incorporate those lessons and live by the values that really matter.

Til next time…

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