Once there was a wealthy Wall Street CEO, he put on his three piece Giorgio Armani suit, the shirt with a really stiff neck, gold diamond cuff links and alligator shoes. Every day was a big costume affair as he prepared to enter Life's stage. And every day as backed his Lamborghini Countach out of the drive way, he nearly ran over the poor homeless street person laying at the side of his gated real estate. The guys name was " Laz ", most just called him lazy for short. He was covered in sores, and so hungry, all he wanted was scraps from the rich guy's grabage can.
It did happen that " Laz " did succumb to his poor health and starved to death. The angels came to " Laz' " aide and carried him away and seated him at banquet table along side Abraham. With time, the rich man did pass away, leaving all his toys and wealth behind.In the hereafter, up there, out there, somewhere, the rich man in great agony looked afar and saw Abraham and " Laz " enjoying fellowship at the table.
So he shouted at him at the top of his lungs, " Excuse me... Mr Abraham, please take pity on me and send " Laz " to bring me a sip of Perrier with a slice of lemon and rub it over my tongue, because I'm scorching in this heat."
Abraham replied, " Man! you remember that when you were alive, you had it all; the mansion, the cars, the good job, bank account, health care, big pension, bonuses, fine school, gourmet meals...you went with out nothing friend.' All the while " Laz " had to dig through your trash, eating scraps to survive.' ' But now he's got it made, and you're scorching.' ' And on top of all this " somebody " has dug a huge yawning chasm between us and you. so that people trying to get through from here to you can't make it; neither can they get through from there to us.' "
The rich man said, " Well, then, Mr Abraham, will you please send " Laz " to my family's home to warn my wife, kids, and grand-kids; let him thoroughly warn them so they won't come to this hellish condition.
Then Abraham said, " They've got the bible and they've heard preachers...and Jesus' teachings and his living. Let you family take all that in." But the rich man said, " No, they won't do that, but if " Laz " came back from the dead, that would scare the shit out of them, then they'll change their ways."
Abraham said, " If they won't listen to the word, the prophets, or even Jesus...they won't be persuaded by a dead man. ( Paraphrase Luke 16:19-31, by Ron Cole )
If you don't like my paraphrase of Luke, dig out your favourite version and have a read...and reflect. And then think about this; Who has dug this huge yawning chasm between the rich man; Abraham and Lazarus? Did God? Did God create Hell?
I wonder some times if we don't create our own hell right here on earth by how we live now. If we choose to separate, create our own chasms between them and us...the poor, the oppressed, the homeless, the sick, the marginalized, the weak, our enemies, other faiths...those we just plain don't like. Why should we think that we would not bring this chasm into the next world, that all of a sudden in the blink of an eye we're rubbing elbows with those we ignored most of our earthly lives.
Maybe, hell is about more our playing with fire...and burning bridges.