Bosom and seeing

Luke 16:19-31

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man receives no name. He could be the audience, which leaves it open for us to insert ourselves in the story. At first glance it may seem as though Jesus is again telling the Lukan audience the rich need to sell everything and give it away to the poor. We always need to dig deeper though. Plus there is a key element missing from the translation which doesn't allow us to delve in deeper. 

The original Greek places Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Remember the song?
Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Oh rock a my soul
Lazarus is not only named he is put in an elevated place and we take the ability to see that away when we retranslate the scripture to be beside. Why is this important? Because it takes out an intimacy created for us by the storyteller. Maybe, just maybe it's the fact the rich man never sees Lazarus that he is where he is, being tormented instead of with Lazarus. 

This has all kinds of meaning today. How much do we really see someone? I was at Bangor Seminaries old historic campus, I can't remember if it was for a or seminary meeting or a diocesan one, and when I drove out, in the cold and snow there was a homeless person rummaging through the trash barrels on the street. It was trash day and they were all lined up. As he made his way down the street he rummaged through Stephen King's barrel. I wondered if Mr. King knew this someone who was hungry enough to be out in the cold and looking through the barrel for a bit of food. It hits the story home when you see something like that. 

Another part of us these past few years and weeks is concern about being on the right side of things. We are far more concerned about this than about how many black people have been shot as it has happened two more times this week. We don't care to know names, we don't care to know anything more than they were wrong and the police were right. Yet if you pay attention earlier this year just after Ferguson and Michael Brown they released a short entitled 25 ways to be shot or killed if you are black and the names rolled by. This week it has been rereleased to include Mr. Scott, Philando Castille, and even the ones in the church in Charlotte and newer names with some of the old. How long will we clothe ourselves in rightness and not listen to a true discussion. I mean really listen, not interject, not defend, stay silent and listen. Lazarus all over again. 

Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham was a song that came out of slavery. It identified the slaves worth to God. Even Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom. A child of God. Each and every time we deny either is a child we deny sight to our world. Because the address of child from Abraham to the rich man is not lost, the rich man is lost because he couldn't see this. 

If we truly want to live the good news we must see. We must be willing to listen. This is hard work. We must hold our tongues and open our ears. It is the best way forward for peace. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have a new book coming out called The Book of Joy. They wrote it together. One of the quotes has been "only through suffering can we find the way of joy and peace," only in suffering to be silent. Only in suffering to truly see people will we be able to find joy and peace. We can see where the rich man ended up. Is our own rightness worth that end?