Every day a desperate Lazarus lays by the rich man’s gates and receives nothing. No crumbs from the table. None of the leftovers that eventually land in the compost container. Whatever the actual distance is between these gates and the well-furnished dining room, it has become a great chasm.
The wealthy man’s comforts keep him from seeing Lazarus’ need. After both men die, their statuses switch. Lazarus is now surrounded with comfort in the company of Father Abraham. When the rich man protests this plot twist, Abraham tells him that his present reality, with the great chasm between them, cannot be changed. Jesus’ parable revolves around two great divisions. The first chasm, between the gates and the dining room, could have been bridged, but never was. Therefore, the second never will be.
We know the reality of great chasms in our world. We watch the news and the numbers. The divisions among us make meaningful conversations so difficult. We stop believing that building a bridge between us is possible, so we avoid those who seem so different from us. We gather only with those on our side of the great divide, those who think or live just like we do. Avoiding what makes us uncomfortable can seem like a reasonable goal. But there’s a problem with living like this, as the rich man discovers.
Everyone pays a price for failing to see the chasm that we could help bridge.
What chasms between people do you experience daily? How could you cross those divides?
God who heals us, may we know your justice, reconciliation, and peace. Amen.