HYMN FOR PENTECOST 17 Lazarus and the Rich Man/Luke 16:19-31
Text: Medieval English ballad Tune: English folk tune
1. As it fell out upon a day, Rich Dives made a feast, And he invited all his friends, And gentry of the best.
2. Then Lazarus laid him down and down, And down at Dives' door; Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, Bestow upon the poor.
3. Thou’rt none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my door; Nor meat nor drink will I give to thee, Nor bestow upon the poor.
4. Then Lazarus laid him down and down And down at Dives' wall; Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, Or with hunger starve I shall.
5. Thou'rt none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my wall; Nor meat nor drink will I give to thee, But with hunger starve you shall.
6. Then Lazarus laid him down and down, And down at Dives' gate; Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, For Jesus Christ his sake.
7. Thou'rt none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my gate; Nor meat nor drink will I give to thee, For Jesus Christ His sake.
8. Then Dives sent out his merry men, To whip poor Lazarus away; They had no power to strike a stroke, But flung their whips away.
9. Then Dives sent out his hungry dogs, To bite him as he lay; They had no power to bite at all, But licked his sores away.
10. As it fell out upon a day, Poor Lazarus sickened and died; There came two Angels out of Heaven, His soul therein to guide.
11. Rise up, rise up, brother Lazarus, And come along with me; There's a place in Heaven prepared for thee, To sit upon an Angel's knee.
12. As it fell out upon a day, Rich Dives sickened and died; There came two serpents out of Hell, His soul therein to guide.
13. Rise up, rise up, brother Dives, And come along with me; There's a place in Hell prepared for thee, To sit upon a serpent's knee.
14. Then Dives looked with burning eyes, And saw poor Lazarus blest; One drop of water, Lazarus, To quench my flaming thirst!
15. Oh! had I as many years to abide As there are blades of grass, Then there would be an end: but now Hell's pains will never pass.
16. Oh! were I but alive again, For the space of one half hour, I would make my peace and so secure That the Devil should have no power!
REFLECTIONS The rich man and Lazarus is one of the great parables of Jesus. Its images make it vivid—we see the poor sick man outside the gate, the dogs licking his sores, while the rich man carouses indoors. Then the ending when the two receive their just desserts, Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom and Dives to hell, where he suffers his well-deserved punishment. His thirst humiliates him: he has to ask Abraham to send Lazarus to him with one drop of water. Abraham tells him there is no passage between heaven and hell. Then the rich man makes a strange, and uncharacteristically generous request: send Lazarus to my five brothers to warn them. Abraham says that is unnecessary. They have Moses and the Prophets. If they haven’t heard from them how they should treat the poor, they won’t be able to hear even a dead man tell them.
For me Jesus' observation is the most interesting part of the parable. While the folk tradition, rightly, focuses on the rich man’s lack of charity, Jesus is making a prediction about his own death and resurrection. It sweeps through all of Scripture: If they haven’t heard Moses and the Prophets, they are not going to be able to hear even a man raised from the dead, namely Jesus. It isn’t just that they will be deaf to the message of the Gospel and unable to hear, they will not understand how Jesus is there in Moses and the Prophets.
The more I study the life of Jesus, the more I realize one has to know Moses and the Prophets to fathom who he is. One of the most prominent Lutheran theologians of the last era, Robert Jenson, a professor at Luther College, Gettysburg Seminary, almost always preached from the Old Testament. He said once: “You enter into the world of the Old Testament text, noting its twists and turns and its yearnings, and you promise the fulfillment of the yearnings by speaking of Jesus and of His resurrection.” (Lutheran Forum, Winter 2021, p. 18.)
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS [C]
“Send Lazarus to my brothers so they repent,” Said the rich man to Abraham, “All five!” Hell’s chasm could not be crossed; one must be sent
Back from the bosom of Abraham alive. Will they believe a risen man’s report, Having read in Moses and the prophets Their obligations to the sick and poor? That is enough. But if none of them saw fit To follow Moses and treat their neighbors right,
Why listen to a man raised from the dead?
Preachers ask this question as they write
Sermons to give witness to what Scripture says,
That Jesus Christ is risen and standing here:
Will anyone wake up and see him near? Luke 16:19–31; Psalm 17:14; 2 Timothy 4:1–5
Gracia Grindal. Jesus the Harmony
HYMN INFO The ballad is an old English ballad that tells the whole story of the parable, but not Jesus’ ending. Ballads are always stories. The theology is in the story. It was used as a Christmas carol in medieval England. There are many ballad tunes for it. It has been set by great composers, none greater than Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Ralph Vaughan Williams Five versions of Dives and Lazarus
For those thinking of Christmas gifts, you might consider the book Jesus the Harmony. It has a poem for every day of the year and Bible references for each poem that put Jesus in what has been called "the red thread of salvation." Many have been using it for daily devotions; others in group Bible studies.
Click here to check it out. https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Harmony-Gospel-Sonnets-Days-ebook/dp/B08L9S4Z1T/ref=sr_1_3_nodl?dchild=1&keywords=Grindal&qid=16145