Rich Man & Lazarus
The rich man is condemned to an eternity in the burning river of Hades. Lazarus, a poor man, ridden with sores across his body, is welcomed in heaven, enjoying all the goodness that God graces us with. Lazarus was a beggar, whom the rich man ignored all his life. When they both died, they received their just rewards; as Jesus taught, the first will be last and the last will be first. The rich man did not listen.
He learns from Abraham that he is to spend an eternity n the burning river and cannot be helped by anyone in heaven. He begs but he does not received God’s grace. He then asks that someone visits his brothers to warn them to be righteous and not so greedy. He cannot save himself, but he is trying to save his brothers.
He is denied this request with the answer that if they do not believe the prophets, even a messenger who returns to life after death, they will not heed the advice. How true this is; there are many in this world that deny the resurrection as a fable. They neither listen to the teachings of the prophets nor do they believe in the goodness of God. They do not share their blessings with others.
Nothing can save them. Like the rich man in this parable, they need to face an irreversible catastrophe to see the truth. Irreversible is the key.
To bring this to modern day, we have been warned by the experts on climate (i.e. the prophets) that our human civilization is destined for a catastrophe if we do not heed the messages that our out-of-control weather is sending us. The Earth is giving us forewarnings every day with greater intensified storms, earthquakes, and the ice caps at the poles melting. Soon, our coastal communities will begin to disappear; is this the irreversible catastrophe that we need to experience?
We are the rich man and the Earth is Lazarus. Let us reverse our present course and be good stewards of God’s world.