Prepare for Worship: Notes for services on March 8, 2015

Seven | From Sloth to Stewardship

Rick Hutton on Proverbs 13:4 & Ephesians 5: 8-14

For Meditation

When most of us think about the 7 Deadly Sins, sloth is the one that doesn't seem so bad.  It is often perceived as being the same as laziness, just sitting on the couch and not doing anything.  While that's not necessarily admirable, it certainly doesn't seem like something that's deadly.  The reality is that sloth is much more than being lazy, and is in fact one of the most deadly of the 7 sins.  What makes it so deadly is the fact that sloth is the sin that keeps us from moving from who we were before Christ towards who we are in Christ.  It's dangerous because it's so exceptionally subtle.  We hunger and thirst after the wrong things because of sloth within us often keeps us where we are without realizing it.  It is the power of Jesus at work within us that moves us from being slothful to being the new creation we are in him.

Our week's image for sloth is Bosch's depiction of Acedia (accidia in his painting), a medieval term for "spiritual apathy." Acedia was thought to particularly affect men and women in religious communities--those who you'd think would be closest to God and in the deepest relationships of faith.  At the center of the picture is a man in a large chair, clearly asleep. Behind him is a woman whose black overdress suggests she may be part of a monastic community.  She holds a Bible and extends a rosary to the man, encouraging him to wake up and pray. Other details include an unopened prayer book on the bench, and a dog, curled up and also snoozing in front of the weak fire.

Proverbs 13:4

4 A Sluggard's appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied

Ephesians 5:8-14

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14This is why it is said:  “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

About the Series

“Seven | Finding Freedom from the Darkness Within” is a Lenten sermon series on Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust, known for nearly 1500 year as “the Seven Deadly Sins.” A couple of factors make this traditional accounting of sins “deadly.” One is that our society has tended to glamorize these sins and even made them into virtues; another is how unspectacular they are. These are incredibly ordinary, pervasive propensities that are so rooted in our nature that we tend to not even notice them. Or if we do, we may rationalize them, such as calling greed “healthy ambition” or gluttony “a deserved reward.” These sins are the roots of so many other distortions that prevent us from living as the people Jesus died to make us become.  In focusing on these sins during the season of Lent, we are inviting Jesus to do some surgery on our souls, asking him—together—what darkness may be hiding in our hearts that we may be ignoring or rationalizing, and opening ourselves up to his transforming love.

For a full description of the series, including week to week schedules, click HERE.

Learn Together

STUDY GUIDES for this sermon will be available on Sunday afternoon, with audio being added on Tuesday morning, both found by clicking the banner image for the sermon on the homepage.  We encourage all small groups to use these resources to foster self-examination in community in addition to privately, and as a way for our whole church to be participating in this season of preparation together

A Study Guide will be available for each sermon on Sunday Afternoon

A Study Guide will be available for each sermon on Sunday Afternoon

Join the Conversation

Looking beyond our walls, our sister congregations, Christ Presbyterian and City Church, are joining us in this series on the Seven Deadly Sins, partners with us in repentance and renewal, as well as in sharing the gospel.  

Pastors Corey Widmer, Kevin Germer, and Erik Bonkovsky are hosting a collaborative blog where they and readers can contribute additional thoughts and responses to the scriptures and sermons we'll hear during lent.  If you'd like to join that conversation, click below.