Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seminary, the Bosom of Abraham, and Me

Ask sleepy eyed high schoolers what "bosom" mean at 6AM and you're sure to get more than one raised eyebrow. Such was my experience this morning as we ventured into a religious discussion with co-ed freshman/sophomores on Luke 16:19-31 which covers the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Thankfully I had done my homework (no, I'm not a seminary teacher but our teacher is sick and asked if I could cover for him) and was able to respond with some appropriate dictionary-based descriptions of what the biblical term "bosom" means. What was more interesting to most of the students was not the effects of the separation of Lazarus and the Rich Man at the end of their lives into hell and paradise but the descriptive literature found in the versus regarding the characteristics of both men. The conversation led to near nausea at the description of Lazarus and utter contempt for the waste that was the Rich Man.

What I took from the lesson was less centered on the descriptive nature of the parable but a personal insight into how easy it is to fall for veneers, facades and cloaks. People generally do not show their true selves until they feel comfortable with you on a personal level. However cool and calculating, even impersonal one individual may appear, there's always more to the story.

Recently I took a co-worker to lunch. I could sense a detachment, maybe even a bit of disdain towards me and I desperately wanted to find a connection with this individual (and the whole team for that matter). Lunch and the time away from the office, the personal connection time, presented an opportunity to break down barriers and get to know each other individually. While I'm sure some masks may still be present by either of us, the time we spent afforded us the opportunity to see each other more clearly. Like Lazarus that may have been full of sores, troubled and downtrodden, or like the Rich Man where everything seemed to be going his way with all of the riches, power and glory of the world, when stripped away and taken from this life their true identities were revealed. Hopefully our lunch was just as enlightening and the office culture that tends to hide true personas was buffeted just a bit and our connection will transcend the office hoopla.

Amazing how each time you experience scripture from reading, studying and reflecting, the meaning comes alive and is relevant in so many diverse ways. Had a recent experience with a passage of scripture lately? Share it below in the comment section.
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