Things went pretty much as expected. Lust disappeared with the maid. Pride sent everything back to the kitchen because it wasn't good enough. Wrath defended Pride's honor by going into the kitchen and punching the chef. Sloth ordered the soup and asked that it be poured down his throat to save him the trouble of chewing.
Only Greed, Envy and Gluttony got down to the business of eating. Greed continually snatched things from everyone else's plates. Envy was fine as long as nobody ate anything he hadn't eaten. Of all the deadly sins, only Gluttony dined like a civilized vice.
When the dinner party was over, Claude complimented Gluttony on his manners. Gluttony responded only with a sniff of disdain. That was when Claude realized that Gluttony hadn't been a gentleman. The only thing that distinguished Gluttony from Greed is that Gluttony did not care. Greed wanted what others had. Envy wanted no one else to have more than him. Gluttony simply didn't care whether anyone suffered as a result of his selfishness.
Claude didn't invite any more sins to dinner after that.
When we think of sins with grevious consequences, gluttony generally isn't one that comes to mind. Gluttony isn't really even discouraged by most of our churches. Even pastors are encouraged to practice gluttony. We're required by law, it seems, to sample everyone's dishes at the local carry-in, lest anyone feel slighted. Certainly there don't seem to be dire consequences associated with gluttony, apart from an increased risk of heart attack or diabetes.
So what's the big deal?
What we need to understand is that Gluttony is not about oneself. No beast is an island. When one practices gluttony, one is shutting oneself off to those around him. As we saw in the story, greed is malicious. Envy is virulent. Gluttony just doesn't care.
Not caring about those who don't directly affect us has never been acceptable. Remember that not caring for the poor was at the top of the list of Soddom's sins.
That's not how God wants us to live. We are to take care of our neighbors. If we don't, we have no right to call ourselves Christians. Christ's second command is to love our neighbors as ourselves. His example was the story of the good Samaritan. We are to care for those around us in need even if we don't know them. Even if they are incapable of ever paying us back. Especially if they can't. Even if they are from a people who hate our guts.
It has always been God's plan for us to take care of one another. I'd like to bring to mind a quote from Mother Theresa.
"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give them what they needed. You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me."
And then she prayed. Let's end this service by praying as she prayed.
"Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy. Amen"
Pastor Oren Otter
August 12, 2006
Today's reading: Luke 10 25-37
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.