Ep. 30


For Sunday, September 29
If I Were Scrooge McDuck
Proper 21C / Ordinary 26C / Pentecost +19

Show Notes after the break (click read more) 

SHOW NOTES -  9/29/2013

Opening Music: If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof

For Sunday, September 29
Episode 30 - Proper 21C / Ordinary 26C / Pentecost +19
Luke 16:19-31 - Rich Man and Lazarus
1 Timothy 6:6-19 - Faith in God, not in riches


Primary Scripture -– Luke 16:19-31 - Rich Man and Lazarus

  • Not a story of the nature of the afterlife.  Avoid questions of heaven/hell, who is there/who is not, what is the nature of the torment?
  • Should we include verses 14-15, and skip verses 16-18?
    • Helps in continuity
    • Omits seemingly out-of-place teaching about John and divorce.
  • Interesting Reading:
    • Lazarus=Gentiles = unchurched?
    • Rich Man=Israel = church?
    • Thus, the story is about the those that “know” the grace of God, but do nothing for those on the outside.
    • Is this approach “too spiritual?”  especially for Luke, which is generally known being about more practical, nitty-gritty kind of stuff (e.g. the Sermon on the mount lacks the spiritualization that is included in Matthew “poor in spirit”)
  • Two parts to the story (Fred Craddock)
    • v. 19-26 - A story about a rich man ignoring the plight of a poor man.
    • v. 27-31 - A story about how to interpret the Law and the Prophets (and Jesus, who is saying the same thing as the Law and Prophets in this regard)
      • Ignoring the poor = Rejection of Law and Prophets = Rejection of Jesus’ teaching.
  • Jesus v Pharisees (easier to understand if you go back to verse 14)
    • Pharisees following Deuteronomic understanding that faith in God leads to success in war, money, and family.  
      • Faith=Prosperity
      • Though this feels distasteful to many progressive Christians, the fact is that this is not a difficult position to defend with the Bible.
      • “Blessed to be a blessing” is used to defend acquiring much wealth so as to better use it for alms and charity.
      • This understanding though, ignores other part of the Law (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 15:7-11) and the Prophets (Isaiah 58:6-7), which explicitly require sharing with the poor
    • Jesus stands against Pharisees theological understanding of money.
      • Gets to the heart of motivation for acquiring money.  Sees through the all-too-common facade of charity.
      • v. 14, “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all of this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”
    • What is the judgement that rich man faced?  
      • Was not judged for having money.  
      • Key: Lazarus was in his gate every day, in desperate need, and the rich man did nothing - all while wearing purple and fine jewelry.
      • The dogs had more compassion
      • Rich man was not wicked, he was just apathetic
      • “The rich man is not harshly condemned.  He is not indicted because he is rich… We are not told that he persecuted Lazarus or deliberately refused him food or sponsored legislation to rid his gates of beggars.  The difficulty with their relationship all of those years on earth is that the rich man never sees Lazarus… The rich man’s wealth has so distorted his vision that he is unable to perceive the plight of the beggar at his gate, to identify with his plight, and to ease his suffering” (Charles Cousar Texts For Preaching)
    • Charity is not about buying redemption, or guilt clearing.
      • “God knows your heart.”

Secondary scripture - 1 Timothy 6:6-19 - Faith in God, not in riches

  • End of the letter
  • About choosing “true life”
    • not condemning the wealthy or purely eschatological hope
  • True life and eternal life are to be epilambanomai, to take a hold of, grasp, catch, sometimes with violence
    • These are gift to be seized and grabbed (v. 12 and 19)
    • Eternal life and true life are things to be seized NOW not at some futuristic eschatological moment
    • “The Kingdom of God is at hand” - Mk 1:15
    • "The eschatology of the coming God calls to life the history of new human becoming, which is a becoming without any passing away, a becoming into lasting being in the coming presence of God." - Jürgen Moltmann, The Coming of God, trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 24
  • To be in God’s presence
    • comforting
    • challenging - how would you act if God were right there?
      • This is the End - Seth Rogan, "I haven't lived my life as if there's a God.”
  • Seizing life not wealth
    • Be content
    • real life- pursuit of God
    • destructive life - pursuit of wealth
    • Justification in the name of $$
      • child labor
      • human trafficking - $10 billion/year, 2 million people have been bought and sold over the last 15 years
    • Wealth is not evil - the wealthy are included vv. 17-18
      • wealth as the goal is useless
      • wealth is “uncertain” v 17 - God is eternal
      • God is the goal- wealth is another tool to serve God
    • Being faithful DOES NOT mean financial success
      • see 6:5
  • Thoughts:
    • Does the church promote seeking life or seeking sustainability?
    • Are we focused on helping people grasp true life or making sure they pledge?

Closing -
TY: listeners, Opening music, Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
TY: Closing music,Paul and Storm, “Oh No”

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All, LukeEric FistlerComment