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The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

Lazarus didn’t make his own way to the gate of the rich man.  Somebody put him there.  Maybe it was family… maybe it was neighbors… maybe the ones who deposited Lazarus at the gate of the rich man knew that Lazarus was beyond the means of their care or perhaps they were exhausted from caring for him or it could be that they figured the rich man should take a turn at providing for the poor man Lazarus.  Whatever their reason, the ones who laid Lazarus there left him in the company of dogs who provided an unwitting ministry as they licked his sores.  There Lazarus lay at the gate of the rich man, a silent accusation, the same accusation made through the generations anytime the poor and suffering come into the presence of the rich and successful.  Lazarus’ presence was the voice of the law sounding in the rich man’s conscience, a voice unheeded until it was too late, and the law’s consequences were delivered:  the torments of Hades (Lk. 16:23).

The law comes and lays a Lazarus at everybody’s gate… yours… mine… all sinners.  Will the preaching of the Law and the Prophets be sufficient to awaken your conscience, or will you wait for someone to rise from the dead?

Prayers from one who would rather go out the back door and thereby avoid Lazarus in his poverty awaiting at the front…

Father in heaven, fill my ears with your Word so that my eyes would see the Lazarus you’ve laid at my gate, and I would answer the accusation leveled against me by alleviating his poverty.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, use my labors at satisfying the law’s accusation to make me so weary and heavy-laden that I am driven to Jesus Christ who is the only one in whom the burden of the law’s accusation falls silent.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, give me rest and solace in Christ who fulfills his promise of rest to the weary and heavy-laden.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, fill my eyes with the needs of my neighbors that I may be of some use to them in meeting the demands of this sinful and broken creation.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, set my hands to the tasks and duties of the various offices committed unto me that I would fulfill their obligations and satisfy their demands.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have set needy students at the gate of the Institute of Lutheran Theology.  Give it such generous neighbors that it would have the means to satisfy those needy students.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have set before me the days of my baptism.  I know not how many they may be, but I do know that their end will arrive when the one who has promised to never leave me nor forsake me finally appears in all his glory.  Until that day, let me rest in faith in his presence.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen