Where charity prevails.
between us and you a great chasm is established
Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of our Lord and fellowship in His Holy Name.
There are several things to consider today: The way we live our lives; The need for repentance i.e, change where necessary; and The reality of the Hell we build if we close or limit ourselves toward the other. All of this is summed up in the gospel as the “great chasm.”
Jesus uses the story of Lazarus and the rich man pointing to the necessity of living a life of love, for a life of love converts us fully, brings us most fully to the likeness of His Heavenly Father. This is the life we are called to, to be the model of God in the world exemplified in love.
Now, the confusing part is our perception of what love is. We mess ourselves up by quantifying and qualifying our love toward others.
The Greeks had it a bit easier for the word Agape means a love that is complete charity, total self-giving. This is the complete love Jesus speaks of and requires from His disciples. We are to live and practice, without quantifying, self-giving toward all we encounter. That powerful love, so often unseen and unexpected in our world, when shown, breaks down barriers and brings people into the Kingdom.
The rich man had none of that. Factually, his love was completely self-centered and could not even contemplate self-giving. He existed is a loveless great chasm, a place of emptiness, a hollow place. He made that chasm impenetrable, uncrossable, and a place of blindness toward anyone else. He never even saw or heard Lazarus under his window.
Could he have repented? Most certainly. The rich man could have opened his ears, eyes, and heart to Lazarus. He could have taken from himself and could have given, inviting Lazarus in to dine with him, not counting the cost. He could have offered his friendship to Lazarus and opened himself to him.
Yet, as we see in Jesus’ telling, the rich man could not even do that after death. There he was, in Hell, being tormented, crying out for pity – pity for himself. His self-centered life lived on into eternity, he remained in the chasm he built. Lazarus remained as nothing, just a potential water bearer and message carrier for the rich man’s needs. Not once does he look up to Abraham and Lazarus and beg forgiveness.
We must examine the places where we have built great chasms in our lives, where our love is less than the full giving Jesus requires. If there is a great chasm, let us work to close it. It is certainly not easy, it wasn’t easy for most of the Apostles and saints at first, but they got there. They closed the chasms of their lives and lived complete love as we must do.