August 29, 2004

Paul Thiessen - “Seven Deadly sins”

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Paul Thiessen spoke from the Lectionary text of Luke on the deadly sin of pride. Though the Bible proscribes all seven deadly sins (attributed in detail to St. John Cassian, an Egyptian monk and contemporary of Pelagius), it never lists them in any order of importance. Paul divides the text into three separate teachings. In the first, Jesus is watched by the Pharisees to see how he bends the Sabbath laws at this feast, where who you ate with determined your level of religious purity, and hence, your obedience to God. Jesus behaves unexpectedly, asking the Pharisees what they would do? Contrast this meal with the feeding of the 5000 - which was more holy? Paul notes that communal eating is important today too - healthy families are ones that eat together. The second teaching was more direct - the seat chosen by each guest directly called the pride of each into question. C.S. Lewis called pride ‘the great sin’ – “The one sin which everyone loathes when they see it in others...” The Olympics virtually vibrate with pride, national and otherwise, and Martha Stewart and Conrad Black are but two whose pride is in display for us all to judge. Pride’s opposite - humility - is called by the Benedictine Joan Chicester ‘the lost virtue’. The Bible’s call to humility runs counter to our age’s call to believe in ourselves, to be assertive. How do we strive to achieve excellence in what we do, without falling prey to pride in self-satisfaction? Paul’s clues - listening, not always thinking you’re right, even when you are, evoke last week’s sermon about being on a journey. Jesus third teaching is also direct - do not invite to your table only those to whom you owe invitations - invite all. Nietsche is our modern cynical apotheosis when he says we only treat others well to be treated well in return. Mother Teresa says the opposite, “The problems of people in the West are in their hearts.” Paul asks us to be grateful for the gifts God has given us and use them in a spirit of humility. [AP]


Passage: Luke 14:1-14
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event:
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Paul Thiessen
Worship Leader: Cynthia Friesen
Song Leader: Eric Hannan
Pianist: Ruth Enns
Usher: Erika Hannan
Zoom Coordinator:
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