Daily Devotion 27 July 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Luke 16: 19-24 ‘The Rich Man and Lazarus’

19 ’There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 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.”

The idea of an invisibility cloak, like Harry Potter’s, has always appealed to me – wouldn’t it be good to be able to become invisible occasionally! But in this parable of Jesus, the beggar Lazarus is invisible all the time, through no choice of his own. He sits at the gate of the mansion and is so much part of the familiar background that he’s become invisible to the heart and mind of the rich man who lives there. Even in the life beyond death, when the rich man is in torment, he continues to regard Lazarus as a menial; part of a familiar, natural and inevitable order of things. Jesus doesn’t say that he’s especially evil, nor that the beggar is especially virtuous. The story’s not so much about culpable wickedness as about culpable blindness.

The parable raises questions for us. What do we notice, what do we fail to see? How much injustice is just invisible to us? The eyes of the rich man were blinded by a life of ease and security to the desperate plight of the beggar at his own gate. He failed to register the simple fact that Lazarus was a fellow human-being.

As Christians, Jesus calls us to see through his eyes – class and worldly position don’t matter, colour, gender and creed don’t matter. We are all equally important to God. We’re called to see, too, that when others suffer deprivation and destitution, it may be partly our greed that’s to blame. And if there’s injustice and discrimination around us, have we ever deliberately turned a blind eye or even just not noticed?

If we fail or grow slack, in prayer and in studying God’s word, our religion becomes a slavish, humdrum thing and so do our lives and our vision. Let us pray for God’s grace that we may have the eyes of Christ, to bring light and life into our faith and into the way we live our lives.

Prayer:

Loving Lord, help us to be more like Jesus, never failing to see the needs of those around us and always ready to respond to those needs in the best way we can.
When we are aware of injustice and discrimination in our society and in our world, give us the courage to speak out
and to do our best to change things.
May we constantly endeavour to share your love with everyone we meet.
May our lives be focused on bringing in your kingdom here on earth.
All this we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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