The revolutionary demand of Christianity

Our series of Bible reflections by a wide selection of members of St Chrysostom’s continues through Lent. Today, we hear from Fred, a regular member of our congregation. Fred is a Civil Servant and lives in Levenshulme with his wife Amy and their two children Albert and Edith.

Here is a summary of Fred’s thoughts, on the Bible reading for the Thursday in the Second Week of Lent – Luke 16. 19-31, the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

“This story makes me think about the injustice of our society, for this story tell us that if there is any financial disparity within society then we are not living how we should be living. This makes me think of our context especially the homelessness in our City. This story made me think about the unnamed man in the story, are we as a society like him? Are we in a way complicit in their homelessness?

Lazarus at the rich man’s door (Tissot, 19th century)

This story shows that sin is not only based on an individual level but also based on what we do as a society. For if we don’t actively change society and its oppressive structures then we are all mirroring the image of the rich man. However, I don’t believe that the unnamed man is necessarily a horrible person, rather he didn’t see Lazarus. This made me think if I were in the story what would I say to the rich man? I wonder what would happen if I pointed Lazarus out to him… Even though this story shows a justice for Lazarus, it also makes me question whether this story really is a fair system of justice. Is it really fair for the rich man to go to hell?

But, this story highlights to me the revolutionary and radical nature of Christianity, and the importance of our practical theology. Often the Church gets called the “Tory party at Prayer” but this story shows Jesus flying the red flag (this shows the socialist side of Christianity – something I very much believe in.)

Throughout history, scripture is often used to defend the status quo but thanks to the work of liberation theologians we can now remind ourselves what a fundamentally revolutionary demand Christianity places upon us.”


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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