Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Follow-up

The Rich Man and Lazarus

The variety of textures and components cause me to look more closely, reread the passage and ponder what otherwise is a very familiar story that I've read or heard many times.
I look and see two levels and a great divide.
Lazarus, in the lower right, has been carried to the gates (perhaps represented by the bars in the picture) of the rich man. We can infer that he was crippled in some way and depended on others who probably regularly took him to places where he could beg a subsistence. And he must have been quite helpless so as to be covered with sores and unable to push away the wild dogs that came to lick his wounds.
The rich man, in the upper left, has everything, but his countenance does not reflect peace. In contemporary terms we could imagine him wearing the latest designer fashions, eating gourmet food, and living sumptuously.
They are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Our human natural tendency is to show respect to the rich man and have a hard time even looking at the destitute and diseased, let alone reach out and touch.

From God's perspective, the one he knew by name was the lowly one, the one we would despise. The artist portrays that set-apartness, that hallowed position, by giving Lazarus a halo.
It is interesting that this is the only one of all the parables or stories where a man is called by name. 
I love the song He Knows My Name.

Many probing questions come to mind for me personally and for our society as a whole.
I welcome your thoughts.

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