The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

First Sunday after Trinity. The Rich Man and Lazarus.
Luke 16:19-31

"To Abrahm's bosom bear me home."http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/04/norma-boecklers-new-book-treasury-of.html

The First Sunday after Trinity, 2016



The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.


The Hymn # 427                            How Firm a Foundation                 
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #429                     Lord, Thee I Love            

 Faith Contrasted with Unbelief


The Communion Hymn # 311             Jesus Christ               
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #50                                 Lord Dismiss Us                    




KJV 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

First Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to rule and govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not, like the rich man, hear Thy word in vain, and become so devoted to things temporal as to forget things eternal; but that we readily and according to our ability minister to such as are in need, and not defile ourselves with surfeiting and pride; in trial and misfortune keep us from despair, and grant us to put our trust wholly in Thy fatherly help and grace, so that in faith and Christian patience we may overcome all things, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Faith Contrasted with Unbelief


KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

We can discover two things from the beginning of this lesson. 

First, it is a parable and therefore a short story with a major point and probably one or two other points to make, quite an accomplishment in a few words. We know it is a parable because of the use of "certain," which signals the opening of a parable. Sometimes a parable is clearly defined as such - they understood this parable (John). Or - the Kingdom of God is like...(Matthew 13, Mark 4, etc).

Second, this is a comparison of two figures, like the one about the Pharisee and the publican. The rich man is not named, but minor details are offered about his life - his luxurious meals, every day, and his costly gardens. But the poor man is named, and here the details are painful. All he wanted was the crumbs from the table. He was in such distress that the street dogs licked his wounds.

The purpose is to compare faith with unbelief and to show how God views this difference and the ultimate effect upon us. 

Luther:
5. Here one traces the secret sins of his heart as the evil fruit. For where faith is, there is no anxiety for fine clothing and sumptuous feasting, yea, there is no longing for riches, honor, pleasure, influence and all that is not God himself; but there is a seeking and a striving for and a cleaving to nothing except to God, the highest good alone; it is the same to him whether his food be dainty or plain, whether his clothing be fine or homespun. For although they even do wear costly clothes, possess great influence and honor, yet they esteem none of these things; but are forced to them, or come to them by accident, or they are compelled to use them in the service of others.

Lazarus
Faith and unbelief both bear fruit, as Matthew 7:15ff shows. Looking outside I see elderberry plants that are six feet tall. They were budding and now one is in flower. The second variety will follow. The elderberry is a good plant and can only bear elderberries. It cannot bear thistle seeds or poison ivy berries. 

In fact we all have so many plants in our gardens and lawns that we often wait until they flower and fruit to tell what they really are.

The good tree or plant only bears good fruit, so the Savior teaches us that the believer only bears good fruit and cannot produce evil, corrupt fruit. This is not an issue about sinfulness. Believers are still sinners, but the sin does not control and take possession of them. The Gospel Promises absolve sin and strengthen us against temptation.

Someone might say, "But Lazarus has no good works, and good works follow faith, just as the fruit follows the flower." Aha, Lazarus is the best example of faith and good works, because his life is an example to everyone who seemingly has nothing and can do nothing but is an example of trust in the Savior. Many elderly people are like that, weakened by old age and limited to beds and wheelchairs, they still love to hear the Word of God and sing with the hymns. We saw examples of that where our weak little daughters could not even turn over on their own, but they delighted their elderly friends in the same condition, who also showed faith and love in their radiant smiles toward the helpless girls.

Who is more despised than the weak and sickly in any society, including ours? And that is emphasized in this opening, where the hated street dogs were the only ones to show compassion when they licked the wounds of Lazarus.

Lazarus
1. We have hitherto heard in our Gospel lessons of various examples of faith and of love; for as they all teach faith and love, I hope you are abundantly and sufficiently informed that no human being can be pleasing to God unless he believes and loves. Now in this Gospel text the Lord presents to us at the same time an example of faith and of unbelief or of the state of the godless, in order that we also may abhor the contrary and the opposite of faith and love, and that we may cleave to faith and love more diligently.

For here we see the judgment of God upon the believers and the unbelievers, which is both dreadful and comforting. Dreadful to the faithless and comforting to the faithful. But in order that we may the better grasp the meaning of this text we must picture to ourselves both the rich man and poor Lazarus. In the rich man we see the nature of unbelief and in Lazarus the nature of belief.

The Rich Man
The rich man is our example of unbelief. There is no list of sins. We do not read that he is a thief, adulterer, or killer. The very concise parable notes his daily indulgence in sumptuous meals - and his exquisite clothing. But wealth alone is not a sin. Unlike the political campaigns of today, which make wealth a sin, the Bible does not. Many believers had great wealth and power, but they were not possessed by those things. Lydia used her income from rare dyes in helping the Apostles in their work (Acts). She dealt in the dye that only wealthy could afford and in some cases only royalty could wear (same thing in most cases). 

Where is the proof of the rich man's unbelief? Answer - he has no compassion on Lazarus. He does not do the least little thing for the dying man at his gate, not even to offer a bit of comfort.

Luther:
11. Now all unbelieving people are like this rich hypocrite. Unbelief cannot do nor be different than this rich man is pictured and set forth by his life.

And especially is this the character of the clergy-, as we see before our eyes, who never do a truly good work, but only seek a good time, never serving nor profiting any one; but reversing the order they want everybody to serve them. Like harpies they only claw everything into their own pockets; and like the old adage runs they “rob the poor of his purse.” They are not moved in the least by the poverty of others. And although some have not expensive food and raiment, yet they do not lack will power and the spirit of action; for they imitate the rich, the princes and the lords, and do many hypocritically good works by founding institutions and building churches, with which they conceal the great rogue, the wolf of unbelief; so that they become obdurate and hardened and are of no use to anybody.

These are the rich man.

Our physician had that experience when he raised money for the poor in his medical mission. He is also ordained and preached at his own church during this time in Texas. He went to the wealthiest church in the area and asked for matching funds to help people buy their prescription medicine. The high income minister of the high income church said, "No, we do not even help the poor in our own church." 

The same minister-doctor went to poor churches, those churches with almost nothing passed out boxes so that people could give their nickels and dimes to help the poor get medical care. That was so touching to him, that those with the least gave the most - but that is the nature of faith, which was lacking in the rich church with the rich pastor. Believers seek to help their neighbors before being asked.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Jesus is clearly teaching that Lazarus, a diseased beggar was carried by angels off to eternal life, to be in peace, in the bosom of Abraham.

If you have missed theme so far in the Bible - Abraham is always connected with faith, since he believed God's Promises and was justified by faith - Genesis 15. That is repeated in Romans 4 and Galatians, in Hebrews and James, in John 8 with the repudiation of "we have Abraham for our father".  And here we see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, a subtle shift from "with God" or "with the Savior." In the context of the entire Bible, this is not subtle at all. There are children of Abraham by faith, and children of Abraham by blood. It does not good to call Abraham "our father" without faith.

The rich man also died but he was in torment. A lot could be said about timing and how this sort of thing could happen, even in a parable. Stories are very useful for getting abstractions across in a way we cannot possibly miss. Luther did this often in his explanations, where he wrote, "It is as if Jesus were saying..." and then used words Jesus did NOT say - but they are good explanations. That is almost like a parable.

The adult students of today have a difficult time with adding stories, examples, and anecdotes. They even balk at using color and graphics in their work, and that is remarkably easy today. Pure black and white is harder to remember and focus on. But color and graphics make the abstract more concrete. We have no place for stained glass windows, but we have graphics for the blog and sermons.

The rich man is in the torment of his own conscience. That is often the case of the dying with no faith, and even those with faith love to hear the Gospel at the end. 

When Pope Pius XII was dying, he was tormented that all his compromises with the Communists were an enormous failure. He chose to get along rather than to be a leader, and this conscience truly put him in Hell.

Likewise, the most famous theologian in America, Paul Tillich, was terrified of dying. He told liberal students and professors exactly what they wanted to hear. But his life was full of cheating and lying. His widow wrote a tell-all book and the Tillich Fan Club condemned her for telling the truth.

The trouble with sin is this - no one has a human solution that works. The Catholic Church has oppressed and robbed people with their solution - that each one must do works to make himself pleasing to God - but they add the greatest works are still not enough and each one is lucky to spend thousands of years in Purgatory to finish the EZ pay schedule. People realize this instinctively and find themselves confused, especially if manipulated by this (or similar schemes) for years.

And in all this people overlook the greatest sacrifice of all for their sins - the death of Christ on the cross.

The rich man's torment is not from being rich but from having no faith and therefore no compassion. When life dwindles away, the delights of life diminish in importance. In contrast, the real issues of life grow and dominate. The worst torment is not physical but mental, which is represented by the second part of the parable.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 

We can see that post-humus remedies have no value. The rich man, who would have fed Lazarus at the table and dressed his wounds for him, even kissed the wounds, would now like a little comfort from the poor man. But that is not possible.

This part of the parable addresses claims that the Catholic Church still makes. I bought a tape from a Catholic organization that promised me - souls of Purgatory would come to my aid. They had several examples on that tape. I was impressed - by the manipulation. It was witchcraft in the name of Christ.

The boundaries are fixed and there is no travel between, as Abraham says in this story. So how important is faith? Abraham is the example and the teacher.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The next section teaches us the efficacy of the Word of God. Now Lazarus has been promoted to the position of Evangelist, the same man  who could not catch a break at the rich man's gate. The rich man is an example of caring about important things too late.

He reminds me of the ministers who said nothing about their denomination going to the dogs until they were safe in retirement. Then they saw the continued decline and decided to speak out about it - but no one cared. Several of them were the actual synod presidents - David Preus and James Crumley - who led their groups into the ELCA merger. 

God shows toxic religious leaders the results of their apostasy before they die. Or, one might say, Satan rips the blindfold away to see what his kingdom really delivers.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Abraham himself says - "They have Moses and the prophets." In other words, the Gospel is found in the two most important parts of the Old Testament - the Torah and the Prophets.

Anything the brothers need to know can be found there, without a guide from the Other Side. There is no attempt by the rich man to make the Gospel real, relational, and relevant. When life and death are on the line, Gospel makes everything else shrink to nothing in importance.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

This bossy rich man is used to having his orders carried out, one way or another. He is quote sure if someone from the dead would come to them, they would repent. That is given a great ironic twist, when the phrasing is changed to "rose from the dead." Abraham said, "Not even that great wonder would persuade them. 

Luther:
26. At last he feels, that it is declared unto him: There is a great gulf fixed between him and the believers, that they will never be able to come together. These are the thoughts of despair, when the conscience feels that the Word of God is withdrawn forever from him; accordingly the thoughts of his conscience rage and would gladly have the living to know that such are the agonies of death, and he craves that someone would tell it to them.

But it is to no purpose; for he feels an answer in his own conscience, that Moses and the prophets are sufficient, whom they ought to believe, as he himself should have done. All such thoughts pass between the condemned conscience and the Word of God, in the hour of death or in the agonies of death; and no one can perceive what it is, except the one who experiences it; and he who experienced it wished that others should know it, but all is in vain.