This past Sunday I was allowed to preach here at Moundford. I praught (past tense of "preach") on Luke's story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). I feel like it went well Sunday morning, with two services of asking ourselves who the Lazarus in our own lives might be? And also asking ourselves what might be the "gates" in our lives...the things that are separating us from those God is calling us to love towards Him. (economic, social, status, schedule, etc...) Some gates we create, and some gates are just "there" by nature of the world we live in.
As usual, those who preach Sunday morning, are usually called on to preach for our food pantry service on Monday morning. I was excited to have a 3rd opportunity. :) But in prayer Monday morning, I realized that the message I was about to preach needed a shift in focus. Many of those who came to the service that morning were the "Lazarus" on the other side of the worlds' gates. I spent a few quick moments trying to rework the approach.
We hear from time to time that the Gospel message is best understood by those who are oppressed, disenfranchised, suffering, outcast and downtrodden. That morning, I'm not sure if I understood it in a new light....but preaching it sure was a lot more exciting than it had been on Sunday.
God had me speak about the coming Kingdom...the coming "overturning" of this world's structures and economy. The redemption of how all things work. The fact that God was with Lazarus in this world AND after....and no matter how sometimes we wish things in our lives would work out like what we see through our "gates".....God is with us.....and THAT is a pretty exciting thing to be reminded of.
I think most of us have moments/seasons of both identities throughout our lives.
Sometimes we're Lazarus. We are hurting, suffering, alone, in need....and we look through gates of (finances, social status, employment, titles, popularity, etc.) and we wish we had what was on the other side. But God is with us.
Other times we're the rich man. We're doing pretty good. Things with our (finances, social status, employment, titles, popularity, etc.) are going so well that we forget about those on the other side of that "gate". God calls us to remember those....and that by our solidarity with them...we are with Christ.
In Truth, no matter what side of what "gates" of this world we land on....it's important to remember than in the economy of Christ...the structure of the Kingdom....the curtain has been ripped down the middle.
How we live in view of that will affect a multitude of eternities.
Church For The Unwelcomed
5 weeks ago