The inspiration for today’s sermon comes from two different readings, Amos 6 and Luke 16. One is from the prophet Amos and the other is a parable from Jesus. Both passages warns that those who find comfort in this life may find the next life more difficult. To those who are rich yet take no notice of the poor, this is a dire warning. The love of money can lead to great evil. It can be like an addiction. Riches can make you blind like the rich man was to Lazarus. After death, the rich man learns too late the lessons of being a good Christian. Yet, at first, he still does not get it. He asks Abraham if Lazarus can come out of heaven to “serve” him a cup of water.
This message still resonates today. The powerful see the poor as inferior to themselves. If the rich see the poor as their equals then they cannot justify the gross inequality in wages in this nation. It is not just a class issue, it is also a race issue and a gender issue. In the parable, the rich man asked that Lazarus return to Earth to warn his family. Abraham told him that even the dead returning to life will not be enough to convince some people to change their sense of superiority and entitlement. If resurrection does not add anything to the truth that has already been said, maybe we don’t need it. We have the prophets and Jesus’ teachings. We already know enough. We don’t need someone like Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi, to come back from the dead. It is up to us to do the right thing.