Reflections on Luke 16:19-31

And the moral of the story is … I sometimes think that way after reading a parable.  What is the “moral” in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus?  That after death the poor will be rewarded and the rich will be punished forever?  That maybe if the rich man had been generous with Lazarus that he would not have ended up in the place of torment?

C.H. Dodd in 1935 defined the parables like this:  “At its simplest the parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought (The Parables of the Kingdom).”

In my mind today there is sufficient doubt about the precise application of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  So what “active thoughts” are teased out of me? 

I think of parables as Jesus’ way of re-imagining a world – called God’s kingdom – and inviting us to learn about and live in that re-imagined world.  

Questions come up:  What does this story mean when I read it through that lens?  What does God’s kingdom look like in the context of this story?  Where do I find myself in this story and how do I pray into it?  How about:  “God’s kingdom come – his will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. (Matthew 6:10)  What would that look like?

Candice Letkeman

Candice is married to Curt and is the leader of the iPray team at Seeds Church.