But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life? – Romans 5:8-10
Sunday morning – and just in time because next week is Palm Sunday – Rebekah completed her 9-week series on The Seven Deadly Sins, the seven foundational sins traditionally understood to undergird the literally thousands we commit daily.
This week’s word was gluttony. It’s not that different from lust, and it’s not that far from greed. Gluttony is distinct in that it is not so much about possessing (greed) as consuming (gobbling up). It is the sin that in my mind has the most to say about our North American Culture. We have to have, we have to consume, and then – having sucked everything out -we discard, creating horrific mountains of waste that stand as much as monuments to excess as the empty, decaying, going-out-of-business shopping malls from which it all came.
Before the advances of modern medicine, tuberculosis was also known as “Consumption.” It got the name because the disease killed slowly and the victim appeared to be wasting away, a human body literally consuming itself, eventually succumbing to suffocation.
So I feel it is no coincidence that we have labeled our way of life a “Consumer-Culture.” There is a lot of evidence to suggest that we are gluttonously gobbling up resources (life) to the extent that we will eventually see the wasting away and shutdown of major organs.
Gluttony, Rebekah points out in her message, is incompatible with relationships. “The more we must have,” she said, “the farther from one another we become.”
Not only that, but gluttony is a sad and pathetic perseveration, it is investment in a dead-end agenda with no hope of achieving satisfaction or even closure because it is about consuming more and more of what will not and cannot satisfy in response to the misguided belief that all we need to be at peace is “more”.
But there is – and this is always true – good news. And this is why I am so glad we served communion at church the same day Rebekah spoke about gluttony. Communion teaches us two things about the antidote to gluttony:
- When what we are consuming is the right thing it only takes a little to be satisfied. The bread and the wine. Jesus, the Bible teaches, is sufficient. Because of Jesus we have enough.
- We experience God not only in the bread and the wine but in one another. The Christian community – the koinonia – places our focus and attention not on ourselves and our desire for more but on relationships and the invitation of Jesus to love and to serve one another.
When we consume what we were designed for then we are satisfied. Jesus talked not only about Living Water (John 4) but of “food you (the disciples) know nothing about…”
- “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” – John 4:14
- Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” The disciples asked each other, “Has someone already brought Jesus lunch?” Jesus said to them, “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing his work.” – John 4:32-34
Listen again to the scriptures!
- “While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for us.”
- “God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
- “Now that we have been reconciled by Christ’s death, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life?”
- “Not only that: we now have a restored relationship with God because of Jesus.”
- “Whoever drinks from the water I give will never be thirsty again!”
No need for gluttony to be satisfied, just Jesus. Just Jesus.