Jeremiah 17:5-10; Ps 1 Blessed are they who hope in the Lord; Luke 16:19-31
Just a few phrases that leap forth from the page this morning.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots tot eh stream; it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit."
The above image is what it looks like for a soul to give itself to prayer on a regular basis. Its diet consist of entering in and going deep, such that nothing can disturb it.
Many people boast of the prayer life. But in fact they have no idea what prayer is.
They spend a few moments here or there telling God what to do. But seldom do they open their hearts and let him do the talking, guiding, leading.
Thus, there is fruit in their lives only when the circumstances are going in their "favor" but when the winds of change happen upon them then quickly the fruit withers and dies.
PErhaps this is why the prophets follows the exhortation on prayer with the following words, "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"
Why do we forsake what is good for us? Why do we neglect that which will benefit us more?
Why do we excuse ourselves from prayer? Why do we pretend?
Jeremiah reminds us that the "Lord alone probes the mind and test the hearts."
This is why prayer is so important. Only in prayer, entering into the silence of our inner room can we allow God the opportunity not so much to educate us on the human heart but to educate us on our heart.
Then we go to the gospel for today. It is the familiar story of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus.
The poor man is ushered into the arms of Abraham upon his death. While the rich man is ushers into flames of torment.
But the gospel readings ends in such a way that is both a warning and invitation, "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."
Someone has risen from the dead! Are we persuaded?