Gluttony

Rev. Megan Huston
March 8, 2015

Exodus 16:2-15

Luke 12:22-34

22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Last Spring, Willie & I along with his parents, went to Santa Rosa beach for a vacation the week after Easter. It was fantastic. We stayed in this charming, dilapidated old beach house called the shell shack, that was hidden in a neighborhood full of beach mansions. We would walk to the beach each day and pretend that we owned the fancy houses we laid in front of. Our anniversary fell during the trip, and so we went to dinner at the finest dining in the area, Stinky’s Fish Camp. If any of you have spent time on Santa Rosa beach you probably have eaten there, the chef hales from New Orleans, and the food is delicious. We waited for our table and finally were seated in a corner upstairs.

The table across from us sat a family of about 8. And while we tried to enjoy our meal, it being our big night out, we were distracted by our neighbors. For us, it was a special occasion to go to this really nice restaurant, (Believe it or not Stinky’s, while having a casual atmosphere, has really good food!) It was a sort of a splurge for our 5th anniversary, and so we delighted over each dish we received. Willie ordered some kind of fish we could all make eye contact with while I enjoyed shrimp. But it seemed like each time we would take a bite and savor our seafood, we would hear another complaint from the table next to us.

I believe it started with the drinks. Maybe a martini that came out dirty but was supposed to be extra dirty. And then it was something about the bisque that they didn’t like. Next was a steak that wasn’t cooked to their approval. It was one thing after another. All night. The party at this table was clearly hungry.

Life is more than food our scripture for today reminds us, but we are hungry… One of our elders, you may remember, prayed these words at the table a few weeks ago. We search for the right words. The most eloquent words. But sometimes the most profound prayers simply tell the truth. We are all hungry for something.

Like those Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness, entering their second month of their long journey out of Egypt. They are literally starving and so they call out their leaders and ask why they took them out of one form of captivity to simply place them in another.

You know, our Gospel lesson tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear. As if it is as easy as that. And we imagine ourselves like that fancy family of 8 at Stinky’s Fish Shack complaining because things aren’t just right. But I wonder if we are more like the Israelites, stomachs full, but spirits completely and totally starved.

If we are honest with ourselves, our messed up relationships with food and drink, stems from a deep hunger that goes far beyond our bellies. If you aren’t familiar with the hunger I’m talking about, take a field trip to Starbucks around 7am. You will stand in a long line of people who order things like a triple shot, skinny mocha extra hot, latte with whip. Those of us in line have our order down to a science and we expect the baristas to as well. We want our coffee and we want it now because how else will I start another day. We are thirsty for something.

And so we eat and we drink and we distract ourselves into thinking that everything is fine. We binge on Netflix or the 24 hour news cycle. We stuff ourselves with something- whether it is social media, or video games, or sports. We just keep consuming because if we stop our hunger returns.

Life is more than food…or facebook…or coffee…pick your poison, fill your soul. But when all of it is gone, what is left?

We come back to this place each week because we are hungry and because we know that there is something more, something that can actually fill us. Have you ever left someplace feeling so full of life that you want to just shout it from the mountaintops.

Like that dew that shows up on the fields, like the fine flaky substance that God provides the Israelites, I wonder if it is actually raining manna from heaven pretty often but we are not looking up. But in that moment when we do, it feels like you could walk two miles in the snow because you want to experience more of that.
I’m probably undoing my sermon on pride last week but my heart was positively bursting with pride when we opened our doors as a warming station on Thursday. I was just arriving when I got the message from Lance that he had just gotten there, so he said, “The roads were really bad. So I walked.” I looked at Willie and said, “Lance walked here. From his house!” And so we walked in and there is Lance standing in his socks beaming from ear to ear asking, “What can I do?”

Because Lance has been a host for Room in the Inn. He knew it wasn’t just the homeless like that community that needed help. It was a group of our friends. And so there was simply no other choice. And speaking of food, I cleared out my pantry unsure of what we would have to offer our guests other than the leftover chips and flat soda from the youth kitchen, but when I got there you couldn’t even see the serving bar because there was so much food- it was a real live loaves and fishes story y’all.

And that food, sharing it with our homeless brothers and sisters it satisfied in a way I will not soon forget. I felt sort of the same way I feel most nights I would leave youth group, after sharing our highs & lows and where we had seen God that week, listening to the youth take care of each other. It felt kind of like that one time at Mosaic when we sat around the table and cried because one of our women’s dad was sick and she at the same time found out she was losing her babysitter and it was just like everything came crashing down at once and so we didn’t fix it but we shared the moment together. Most of the time our group, like our youth group, laughs together for hours, but we don’t have to because we are real with one another. And so when we left it felt like we were not alone and we could face whatever would come next. It felt like one of those many worship services when the choir bolted out a beautiful song that seemed to say just the right thing at just the right time.

We show up here, to be with God and to be with each other because we know that we are hungry. And we know that we worship a God who will not leave us alone but will inspire and nurture and comfort and challenge us.

And so if you ask me, our sin of gluttony, it just has nothing to do with food. It has to do with a deep hunger for something. So, it’s almost lunch time what are you hungry for today?

 

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