Shall we remain
Jesus said to the Pharisees: â€œThere was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.â€
Our Old Testament reading lays it all out there. Amos is drawing a very clear picture of Israelâ€™s complacency, laziness, arrogance, and blindness. They were too busy enjoying themselves, believing they had it all â€“ and they failed to see the collapse that was all around them. Jesus picks up this theme in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
Jesus points to the ways we can be complacent, lazy, arrogant, and blind. In illustrating the way one man failed to see what was right in front of him, Jesus reminds us that we can miss what is right in front of us. Even nature, in the form of dogs, recognizes what man could not see. This is a warning â€“ in each age we must be awake.
We have been truly blessed here in Schenectady. Our members are faithful and generous. Everyone works together to raise up the Name of Jesus. The Gospel is proclaimed and we live it. We have a very high PNU membership rate. Yet we must redouble our efforts. Awake and aware, we must lead people to Christ and his Church.
The organizers of our Church, men and women, clergy and lay, came together because their eyes were open. They didnâ€™t just sit in their pews blindly coughing up pennies and nickels while being accused of every evil and threatened with hell. They saw the hatred of evil pastors. They saw the power of greed and the exercise of iron-fisted rule. They saw hypocrisy. They didnâ€™t ignore it and took action – organizing a pristine Church on the model of the early Church. Eleven years later and still on alert, they saw persecution and injustice. They took action â€“ founding SpÃ³jnia. In this day and age we must remain diligent and awake doing what is needed.
Our world and our country are faced with tremendous challenges. Yet too many eyes and ears are closed as they were in Israel. We stretch comfortably on couches, eat rich food, listen to improvisations, drink wine in excess, and anoint ourselves with the best perfumes and lotions. As people of faith we must wake the world to Godâ€™s justice and truth.
Tragically, our Church is facing dire times. National Church dues amount to $2.15 a week, yet thousands have decided the Church is not worth it. Heaven forbid they go up to $3 a week! The PNU cannot get people to join together. As Amos warned Israel: the road ahead will be captivity and disgrace. Will that be our fate? We have much to do. Eyes open and resolute it is time to rise again. Let us lead the way to salvation.