Angie Larson, Clive, IA


Warm-up Question

Have you thought about your carbon footprint?

It’s Getting Hot in Here

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a study looking at global warming and its effects on people in Sub-Saharan Africa. By the year 2020 over 200 million people will fall further into water scarcity and poverty. In some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. This means that people living in already impoverished countries with poor incomes will fall even further into poverty.  By United States standards that means people living on less than $1.00 a day will end up living on less than $0.50 a day at the same time the cost of living is increasing.

People in sub-Saharan African countries like Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Kenya tend to live off the land and not use a lot of resources that contribute to global warming.  The people rarely drive cars, have factories, or eat beef  (all of which significantly contribute to global warming). Yet, they are affected deeply by the changing trends in our global weather.  Those in Sub-Saharan African countries experience longer dry seasons, more malaria, increased poverty, and starvation due to global warming.  Doesn’t this seem unfair? They don’t contribute to the global problem of atmospheric changes yet will suffer the effects the greatest.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you thought about global warming very much?
  • Do you think Americans should make changes to help Africans who will be effected by these changes?
  • What changes could you make to reduce your carbon footprint to help people you don’t know?

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Amos 6:1a, 4-7

1 Timothy 6:6-19

Luke 16:19-31

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

shutterstock_367262993This portion of Luke’s gospel contains a series of parables and lessons Jesus taught to his followers.  Jesus continues to lift up the least, the lost, the last, and the lowest in these parables.  He baffles the religious leaders who are seeking comfort and righteousness in the law. The story of the rich man and Lazarus comes within this narrative.

In this week’s reading, a rich man ignores Lazarus, a poor man covered in sores lying at his gate.  Hoping for food, Lazarus is ignored, an outcast. While Lazarus suffers the rich man is enjoying his life, feasting and being merry.  He does not notice Lazarus and is indifferent to the sick man at his door.

Lazarus dies and is carried away to be with Abraham.  At the same time, this indifferent rich man dies and ends up in Hades. Lazarus is living in glory and the rich man is living in torment.  The rich man pleads to Abraham to allow him some water.  Abraham denies this request. So the rich man pleads to be able to warn his family as they might end up in this same fate.  This request is also denied.

Look at the text.  The rich man isn’t cruel to Lazarus.  He doesn’t intentionally try to harm him.  He is merely indifferent and it leads him to Hades. In this parable Jesus calls us to notice the hurting people around us. We seldom wish people harm. We just fail to notice those who are hurting.  Jesus encourages his hearers to pay attention to suffering near at hand and do what they can.

Discussion Questions

  • How do you sometimes not notice those people around you?
  • What could you do to catch yourself when you move into indifference? How could you make a change in your habits?
  • When you think about it, in what area of your life can push through indifference and do something?

Activity Suggestions

Have each student dip their foot into paint for a reflection on how they are walking through life.  Ask them to write in an art piece that includes their footprint ways in which they could be intentional in their walk through life.  Examples could be recycling, giving of extra money, not purchasing more than they need, prayer, volunteerism, and picking up trash on their walk home each day.

Closing Prayer

Blessed Savior, We often think only of our little corner in the world, as opposed to thinking in global terms. You are so good and care for us in so many ways.  Lord,  help us to notice our neighbors, both near and far, and preserve us from indifference to their suffering. Encourage us in caring for your creation and make us intentional in responding to the pain of your children throughout the world.  In your name we pray, Amen.