Ordinary Time (Proper 21)
Luke 16:19–31/16:24–36 IV
Generosity: Motivated by Love
Amos 6:1a, 4–7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:6–19
Gathering for Worship (choose two songs from the following)
“God Is Here!” CCS 70
“Lord, You Have Brought Us” CCS 76
“Pray to the Lord” CCS 85
“O God beyond All Praising” CCS 90
Every action we take in life is an answer to God. Every idea, every response, every reaction—generosity, love, gratitude, privilege, rejection, or indifference—moves us closer to God or further away. We show our faith in Jesus through compassion for others.
Call to Worship
One: Praise the Lord!
All: I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
One: I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
All: Joyful are those whose help in the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
One: God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.
All: God keeps faith forever; gives justice to the oppressed; and food to the hungry.
One: The Lord sets prisoners free and opens the eyes of the blind.
All: The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.
One: The Lord loves the righteous and watches over strangers.
All: The Lord upholds the orphan and the widow.
One: The Lord will reign forever.
All: Praise the Lord!
—Psalm 146, adapted
“Let Us Give Praise to the God of Creation” CCS 607
OR “Sometimes We Wait, Expecting God” CCS 304
Prayer for Peace
“Dona Nobis Pacem” CCS 155—listen to the vocal recording from French Polynesia found on Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings.
OR Ministry of Music
“Dona Nobis Pacem” (sung by a trio) CCS 155
Light the peace candle during the song.
We are seeking peace, not only for ourselves, but for your battered and bruised world.
We need to better understand how we may become instruments of your peace.
We desire the strength of your presence and the power of your peace in our lives.
We respond in many places, in many ways; may peace be our aim.
In the name of the one who is our peace, Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Additional ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the
Temple in Independence, Missouri, are on the church’s website as
Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Luke 16:19–31/16:24–36 IV
Share a Community of Christ mission story that teaches action motivated by love (www.CofChrist.org/mission-stories).
“When the Church of Jesus” CCS 358
OR “We Are a Family of Faith” CCS 350
Based on Luke 16:19–31/16:24–36 IV
Unison Prayer of Confession
God of Creation,
Help us look and see those like Lazarus in our daily lives. Forgive us when we look the other way or ignore their pleas. Stop us from driving by when they ask for help. Prod us to action and changing our habits. Aim us toward what needs addressing and nudge us with your Spirit to help those we can, motivated by the life of your perfect example of love, Jesus Christ. In whose name we pray, amen.
“What Does the Lord Require” CCS 300
OR “When the Poor Ones”/“Cuando el pobre” CCS 290/291
OR “Be Thou My Vision” CCS 167
Disciples’ Generous Response
Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:6–10
Paul reminds us in his letter to Timothy that the focus of our love should be generosity toward God and our neighbors—not our possessions. Paul calls on Timothy not to aspire to riches but to be content with the abundant grace and supply of God, whatever that may be. What he should seek is “righteousness, godliness, endurance, faith, love, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11) and teach the rich in the Christian communities around Ephesus to do the same.
Consider a simple mission project that can help highlight this point by collecting donations of food, books, clothing, or household items for a thrift store or local shelter. Others can give their time and talents to the thrift store or shelter as volunteers. People can be freed from excess as they live out God’s call to love one another. Ask them to bring items for the next few weeks.
For additional ideas and resources, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
“As Saints of Old” CCS 620
OR “Go with Us, Lord” (may be sung as a round) CCS 612
May we be challenged and motivated by love as we live generously in the coming weeks. God’s word is straightforward and inspiring—those suffering need our assurances, our generosity, and our voices. When we find ourselves in well-off positions, may we remember to share our blessings. May our eyes be open to see others as God sees them and declare with our actions that there is more joy in sharing than receiving. Go with love in your heart and be about Christ’s mission.
Ordinary Time (Proper 21)
Exploring the Scripture
Several lesson themes are contained in the story of the rich man and Lazarus—social justice, love of neighbor, blindness, the value of the human person, life in the hereafter, debate on the message and the messenger—each of which deserves a particular development.
On one side is a man known as rich by his lifestyle; he wears luxurious clothing and eats rich and varied food. We are not told his name, the origin and amount of his wealth, or about his previous life. On the other side is Lazarus, whose body is full of sores, a man who competes for food with dogs. Note there is no condemnation of wealth or praise of material poverty.
The question arises when Lazarus appears in the life of the rich man, when poverty meets opulence. It is clear the rich man’s sin is not because of his wealth, but because of blind, hard-heartedness. The hardening of his heart had closed his eyes so he could not see Lazarus’ suffering. Created in the image of God, Lazarus did not demand a fair share of the food, but only crumbs that fell under the table. The rich man’s blindness not only prevented him from seeing that Lazarus was wrestling with animals over food, but also from understanding the importance of how we live on Earth with the life we have been given.
After both men died, Lazarus is found with Abraham, whereas, the former rich man finds himself in the solitude of hell. In his distress, the rich man wants to send a warning to his brothers (and us): “Repent while you have the chance to hear the word of God and put it into practice.” He is told his brothers will not be open to the message of repentance and will never be convinced to change their ways.
Today’s world is full of Lazaruses whom we refuse to see and whose cries we refuse to hear (Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a). The so-called advanced societies and privileged minorities have taken over the whole table to which we are all entitled and have imposed a heavy burden on those who are marginalized. Economic, political, cultural, and media imperialism, social injustice, and relentless wars increase the number of Lazaruses each day, but often our eyes are closed. Sometimes we even defend our actions, implying we are acting in the name of God. Just like the rich man, we can lose sight of the value of each person and be hypocritical with actions not matching our profession of faith.
- Wealth has value when it is shared and becomes a blessing to the community.
- When one is baptized into Christ, one’s eyes must be opened to see others as God sees them and understand joy is found in both giving and receiving.
- As long as we live on this Earth, we are to conduct ourselves in accordance with the pure love of Christ, God’s shalom.
Questions to Consider
- How do we react when we meet people whose conditions are different from our own?
- How ready are we to share our wealth with others? How good are we at receiving from others?
- When have you seen others through God’s eyes?
- Can you identify “Lazaruses” in the world today? What can or should we do to change their condition?
- What must we do in our communities to remove dependency and encourage responsible choices?