Lectionary Selection: Luke 16:19-31
Prayers for the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Eternal God, we are grateful for your presence in our midst as we tend to the wounds, not just physical, but mental, emotional and spiritual. Forgive us for the times when we failed to become genuine partners with those in need, and when we have not adequately sought to heal the wounds in our society. Holy Spirit, help us discern when one needs a hand up and when one has to be lifted up. In a world of full of gross inequality and injustice, may we possess the holy boldness necessary to proclaim God’s transforming power of love to bring about systemic change. Bless those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and their partners around the world, working to bring peace and alleviate poverty in the cause of establishing justice and righteousness. In your name we pray, Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
“Justice is love correcting everything that stands against love.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The parable of the rich ran and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 demonstrates the theme of social reversal that is prominent in the Old Testament illustrating God’s favor for the poor and downtrodden. Jesus makes this a priority of his ministry as well: “to bring good news to the poor.” It echoes the parable earlier in the chapter about the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13) regarding the mismanagement of wealth with indifference to alleviating debt and poverty. We are reminded that good stewardship does not place blame, but seeks to do what is just.
The rich man did not see Lazarus as a fellow human being with dignity bestowed by God, worthy of his attention and involvement. According Rev. Clement Mputu, Vice President of CDCC and Rev. Emmanuel Boango with the CDCC Evangelism Department, this is the case today in DR Congo where government elites are clinging to wealth and power. They are critical of the recent “dialogue” called by the government to discuss with opposition leaders the parameters for a future election, despite the fact that an election is scheduled for this November. They see the call for dialogue as another example of government elites ignoring the poor and circumventing the constitution to stave off elections.
In the parable, Jesus confronts the leadership of the elites in religion, economics and politics. Jesus takes on the mantle of social prophet, pointing out societal failures in caring for the least of these. The elites’ indifference to injustice and inequality is so hardened, they would fail to acknowledge the great equalizer in Christ dying and rising from the dead to redeem all humanity. Such a practice stands in the way of love, and correcting it requires that we all, just like Jesus, confront the forces of injustice wherever they may be.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Paul Turner)
Mission Partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
- Church of Christ in Congo
- Congo Protestant University - Kinshasa
- Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo
More information on the Democratic Republic of the Congo: http://www.globalministries.org/democratic_republic_of_congo
Global Ministries Missionary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Paul Turner serves with the Community of Disciples of Christ in the Congo. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.