I struggle with the idea that the chasm is permanently fixed in the unknowable next chapters, but I know for a fact that the chasms are not fixed here. Whether or not it was too late for the rich man after his death, this story tells us that it’s not too late for the five living brothers and that it’s not impossible for us.
There is a longing for home in every human heart that ever was. We need to come to terms with the truth that this longing won’t go away. And, friends, this isn’t just a matter of self help for our individual souls. The longing for home that’s been shaped by a hopeless, violent, unjust world, will keep looking for a place where it will be accepted and affirmed, no matter how distorted and destructive the terms of acceptance in that false home may be.
To be lost is to be not in control, to be disoriented, to be vulnerable. Even in our spiritual journeys, we often use the language of the hero’s quest. In our prayers and practices, we set out to find meaning, find wholeness, find God. And there are times when it is helpful and useful for us to be in the mode of seekers and searchers. Yet, in the irony of ironies, it’s when we let go of grasping for the hero’s quest and admit our doubts, our fears, our sins, our angers, our hurts, our heartaches – that’s when we’re found by God.
Our Christian faith says we need the way of love only more, the more our world breaks apart. Because we do know that we sure can’t survive times like these unloved and alone. It’s been said that grief is love with nowhere to go. Which is to say first that grief is a form of love. And maybe also that to have even one person with you in your grief and fear is to give that love at least this one place to go.
Christ is beginning and ending worlds, and we are too with small choices that actually are not so trivial. This story is not light fodder about social p’s and q’s, this is the kingdom itself. It is about love and its difficulties, and it is about our lives in this very world.