Worship Time
10:00 AM
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East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

Luke 16:19-31

19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He 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.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

1 Timothy 6:6-19

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for  our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

An engineer dies and goes to hell. After a while, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in there and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, hell has air conditioning, flushing toilets, water fountains and escalators – making the engineer a pretty popular guy.

One day God phones Satan up and asks with a sneer: “Hey buddy, how’s it goin down there in hell?”

Satan snickered back, “Things are going great actually. We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets, escalators and the works. Hell (no pun intended), there’s no telling what this engineer guy is gonna come up with next.”

God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake – he should never have gotten down there; send him back up.”

To which Satan replied, “No way dude. I like having an engineer on staff, I’m keepin him.”

God retorted, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs loudly and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you gonna find a lawyer?”


A Dollar Short and a Day Late
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man with Abraham
Luke 16:19ff
September 25, 2022
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter

How many people are familiar with the saying… It means that one is ill prepared for the task at hand. And we cannot afford to be ill prepared. The teacher expects we will come to class ready to learn… and God expects that we will come to the Kingdom well prepared as well.  The beginning of preparation is listening to Jesus’ teachings…

In the parable of the day…. Lazarus experiences a lifetime of being “a dollar short” . He never experiences the bounty that the rich man experiences… His clothes are rags and his health is poor- he’s covered with sores- and he generally needs all his energy to survive… even if that means begging on a good day because he probably was too weak to beg.

The rich man on the other hand has plenty … he is never a dollar short…but I would like to suggest that he is one fateful “day late“… Like another rich man who was unaware that his soul would be required on the day that he was contemplating building larger storehouses for his overflowing grain… the rich man finds himself on the other side of life… having died before he could have an attitude adjustment toward God’s most needy.  Actually, a good pair of glasses would have been an excellent investment for the rich man… As I read this passage… the poor man is not particularly religious and the rich man doesn’t even see the poor man. Neither are criminals – neither are angels…

The world is full of Lazarus people – they may not be covered with sores but they are definitely experiencing depression and despair as they face the daily needs.

this morning’s bulletin has Jesus in a breadline as the picture
but before that particular picture was chosen [and I very much liked it] Cindy
had found another picture….. a picture of a man kneeling down by
another man who was prone on the ground…. now we rejected that picture
because it’s hard to figure out who the characters were
the man on the ground was so debilitated
and we couldn’t tell whether it was a lovely large Labrador Retriever or a
human being….. and I say that with a great sense of apprehension
I just thought that we needed something a little bit clearer
and easy to understand.
when you can’t distinguish a human being from an animal
they have come to the lowest possible human existence
and unfortunately a picture was available in the public sphere
and I wonder what people think when they see people so

neglected that they had no hope at all….

Food is more expensive and again we are hearing that people are making choices between medicine and food.  The need for basic food in the USA cities and right here in Massachusetts exceeds the resources every day. Lazarus may be the elderly who can’t afford their medicine AND food,.  Sometimes they are found having passed in their apartments because no one is concerned for their welfare.

Lazarus is just “a dollar short “ and the rich man “a day late”! God fixes the poor man’s eternal experience since there was no joy in the man’s earth bound life… But Abraham says that no one can help the blindness or the meanness of those who refuse to engage the world with compassion if they refuse to see what is happening around them. “No one is so blind as those who will not see.” is another truism.

Even if someone came back from the dead! There is no hurrying some people toward a relationship with their maker and their fellow and sister humanity! Says Abraham. They will always be ill prepared for the day of reckoning, which is surely coming!

Of course, this is a reference by Jesus to His own crucifixion and resurrection… He imagines that many will be unmoved – in spite of the incarnation of God!

There is no excuse for the way we ignore and mistreat one another, says this parable. Prophets and wise people have been encouraging people to care about the less fortunate among us for ages… but being self-centered is so much more natural…

Our two thoughts for the week come from a book that points out that Rich and Poor parents- fathers in particular- model extremely different attitudes in the economic sphere and therefore predispose their children to very different existences in this life…

I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to look at them the primary difference between a rich person and a poor person
is …”how they manage fear”   is the first one
when you are afraid do you hoard your possessions
and  when you’re afraid do you somehow mobilize
a reason to get up in the morning and the 2nd philosophy of the man of the
rich and the poor is this:  “ the rich invest their money and spend what is left
and the poor spend their money and invest what is left”
but the difference between having anything left
is what it means to be poor
we spend it all on the necessities
and because of the disparity in what we teach our children
from the economic advantages that we have or disadvantage that we have
that’s how they will face the future

And Jesus clearly highlights that The great chasm was already there while the two men were alive. 

Jesus paints the contrast in painfully clear images as the parable begins…

…a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen

…a poor man covered–not with fine linen–but with sores

…a rich man who feasted sumptuously

…a poor man who longed for crumbs from the rich man’s table

Why? Why was there such a great chasm between the rich man and Lazarus while they were alive? We could quickly answer that the rich man was hard-hearted and selfish. He was mean. Yet, Jesus paints him as a man with great compassion for his family. He pleads with Abraham on behalf of his five brothers–don’t let them come into this place of torment! But Abraham replies, “They have Moses and the prophets, they should listen to them.” 

the bishop last year suggested we read a book about racism
which clearly showed that we have a caste system
in our country…. it is almost as profound as the one in India,
where I’m sure you’re used to  identifying the word caste but what was more startling was that
during the years of the ascendancy of the Nazi philosophy
they looked to America’s class differentiations
to understand how you keep people in the caste where they’re supposed to stay
according to your philosophy and what had happened in terms of how we
had established a place for black people… poor people….
middle class people and rich people was
worth studying for them to deal with the Jewish question
and these classification of society are frightening.   What we do,
what we understand as community in the church is not a given, it’s something
that is created by God’s command
that you share what you have that you have concern for one another.  A more primitive understanding of The Human
Condition is that we’re all trying to protect our own little peice
and these philosophies have been around for a long time.  Which one are you going to ascribe to?
the distance between ourselves and others is immense and when we have social paths that separates us the chasm
becomes wider and deeper.   It takes being prepared and intentional to communicate
with one another all I need to do is listen to what people say after a sermon
I we don’t do it since covet and it’s not as much of an impact in a
more intimate group like this but when people leave a large group that has been
at a church service and they share with you what profound thing you said during the sermon you sometimes wonder when you
said that at all because we all hear selectively.
Communication is work.
And the ability to share concern for one another is definitely a
Choice.  being a good communicator is rare our peers are people who act as we do and
think as we do and share our common history and in this day and age it is common knowledge that we are not
necessarily in tune with our neighbor but we are challenged to imitate Jesus
and narrow the gaps in this Earthly community so that there will not be a Chasm separating us for eternity
bridges of communication and sharing will change the gap between those who are prepared to be responsible Trustees
of the world and in its population the end of a dollar short and a day late
is Salvation through wholeness instead of Separation through fractures

The distance between ourselves and others is immense and when we have social castes that separate us the chasm becomes wider and deeper. It takes being prepared and intentional to communicate with one another – all I need to do is listen to what people “say I said during the sermon“ to realize that crossing the gap that separates us is very difficult. Being a good communicator is rare. Our peers are people who act as we do, think as we do and share our common history and in this day and age it is common knowledge that we are not necessarily “in tune“ with our neighbor. But we are challenged to imitate Jesus and narrow the gaps in this earthly community so that there will not be a chasm separating us for eternity.

Bridges of communication and sharing will change the gap between those who are prepared to be responsible trustees of the world and its population. The end of a dollar short and a day late is salvation through wholeness instead of separation thru fractures.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”  ― John Wesley

Finally, I find the structure of this parable significant. Lazarus goes to the bosom of Abraham- no St Peter at the pearly gates – no devil in the burning hell – in fact this is one of the few references to “hell” in the Bible!  he rests with the “father of the people of God.”  Because we have Jesus we do not look to Abraham but I assure you that Abraham was the most important figure before Moses and the 2 of them until Jesus.

We can do better as a country. I can do more as an individual. If we listen to Jesus, we have no choice–we’re called to feed Lazarus, even if we don’t see him at our gate. The actions of ordinary people have brought miraculous changes in the past twenty-five years: the number of children dying before their fifth birthday has been cut almost in half throughout the world. That’s five million children every year saved from starvation. How did this happen? Largely because thousands of people like you and me sent letters to Congress urging our country to do more as part of the global community. Lazarus is longing for more than crumbs that fall from our communion tables. We can sit down today and write a letter urging our leaders to keep our commitments to the people below the poverty line. perhaps be involved in some crying need in our own country through our political voice I don’t know if you received it in the

mail but this week I received my opportunity to vote by mail
and I looked at it and I talked to my daughter and I said I’m going to be
coming back from vacation on November 8th which is voting day
and we discussed for a while whether we should early vote or run down to the polls on that day
or get the mail in vote… the power we have to change only goes so
far as we take hold of it and participate
at the most political level
You and I can join Bread for the World, a citizens’ organization that has already changed the politics of hunger in this country. Jesus knew long ago what economists and hunger advocates are telling us now: we have everything we need to end world hunger, it is a matter of distribution.

There is many a Lazarus who is hungry, unemployed, sick and homeless in our wealthy land. How do we treat Lazarus in our midst?

As we learn from the parable, there are eternal consequences for how we manage or mismanage our wealth.  Consequences for each of us personally and for the kind of world we give to our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.   I know it is not popular to say this, yet the parable itself does: there is a possibility of suffering terrible eternal consequences if we fail to care for the poor neighbours in our midst. The thought of this is disturbing—hopefully disturbing enough to motivate us into loving action by serving the poor.

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734