Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

"It's Not About Being in the Same Room"

John 16: 25-33

Romans 8: 38-39

      This morning is our first ever live streamed celebration of Holy Communion.  And I’m not sure

how I feel about it.  On the one hand, I think it’s awesome – miraculous even - that prevented as

we are from being gathered in the same space, we can still be together via the internet, all in real

time.  It’s 10: right here, and it’s 10: where most of you are.  We can still hear the familiar words

of invitation and institution, in real time.  We can still see the elements of loaf and cup on the

table, in real time.  We can still eat the bread and drink the juice, in real time.  We can still bring

our voices to the prayer of thanksgiving at the end of communion, in real time. 

"The Seven Deadlies": IRA

Luke 23: 13-25

Genesis 4: 1-8

On this second Sunday of Eastertide, we turn our attention to the next of the seven deadly sins:

ira; anger in English.  You may recall we discussed the topic of anger a few months ago -- weeks

before this COVID crisis which is now stoking a growing anger; especially among those who are

getting impatient and anxious, and want things to just return to normal.  At that time, we looked at

anger from the practical side, and discussed how we might deal with anger – an emotion we all

struggle with to some degree - in constructive and Christ-like ways.  [if you’re interested in hearing

or reading that message, it’s archived at our website, dated February 9]  This morning, we look at

the same topic more broadly, more theoretically and more theologically; as it is perhaps the most

deadly, or at least the most destructive, of those seven deadlies;  self-destructive to the one carrying anger;

other-destructive to those at whom their anger is directed.

"The Seven Deadlies: Gula"

Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11

Isaiah 28: 1-6

"I Have Seen the Lord"

John 20: 1-10

John 20: 11-18

"Same Old Story"

Luke 19: 29-40, 45-48

Matthew 27: 15-18, 20-23

Psalm 119: 19-29

(Read Luke 19:29-40, 45-48)

      How many of us remember the major drama of the 1994 Winter Olympics? 

The place was Lillehammer, Norway.  The principals were two American figure skaters: Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya

Harding. The drama was a physical attack on Kerrigan – a club to the knee – allegedly orchestrated by

Harding’s ex-husband in an attempt to take Kerrigan out of competition, opening the way to a gold

medal for Harding.  As it turned out, Kerrigan recovered and proceeded to win the silver medal

behind Ukranian Oksana Baiul.  Harding finished eighth.  Later that year, Harding was banned by the

U.S. Figure Skating Association.  She went on to become a professional boxer, and later, a contestant

on Dancing with the Stars.  Kerrigan performed with several ice skating troupes, and was a contestant

herself on Dancing with the Stars just a few years ago.

"The Seven Deadlies; Invidia and Avarita

Genesis 4:1-12

Luke 12:13-21

     This morning, we’re going to consider the second and fourth of the seven deadly sins:  envy and

greed.  Dante, the great Italian poet of the late 13th century, has called envy a “sin of perverted love,”

in that it loves what other people possess rather than loving what is good, and beautiful, and true. 

Along those same lines, Dante has grouped greed with lust and gluttony, calling them all sins of

“excessive love of earthly things.”  A few minutes ago, we heard the reading of an Old Testament text

which delivers the first Biblical account of the consequences of envy, exposing it as deadly in both the

literal and the spiritual sense.  Now I would like to share with you a New Testament text – a parable of

of Jesus – which speaks of the sin of greed, and its deadly consequences.

          (Read Luke 12:13-21)

"The Seven Deadlies: Suberbia"

Selections from Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Matthew

Philippians 2: 1-11

      How many of you are familiar with what are called “the seven deadly sins?”  If you come from a Roman

Catholic background, you may know them by heart.  If you’re a lifelong Protestant, you probably

have heard of them, but were never required to memorize them as part of your confirmation process. 

Protestant or Catholic notwithstanding, this is a relevant topic to approach, especially during the liturgical

season of Lent, which calls Christians to authentic practices of spiritual discipline, confession, and penitence. 

"Glorious Light"  Rev. Ben George

Matthew 17:1-9

Exodus 34:29-35

"Of People Pleasing, Expectations, and True Healing"

Mark 1: 40-45

Psalm 30

     How many of us sitting in the sanctuary this morning tend to be what are called “people pleasers”

In a nutshell, those who are people pleasers just want folks to be happy with them.  And how do they

do that?  Most people pleasers will bend themselves into pretzels in order to meet the desires, the

wishes, and the expectations of others.  While people pleasers generally avoid conflict by giving in to

others, they usually exhaust themselves in the process, leading to inner-conflict and self-doubt.

      The more familiar we become with the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, the more we realize that Jesus

was no people pleaser.  That’s not to say that Jesus didn’t care about other’s wishes, desires and

expectations.  He did.  He simply didn’t allow Himself to be controlled by them.  Jesus didn’t make the

agendas of others His own.   So it was that time and again, Jesus fell short of meeting people’s expectations.

"Advice on Dealing with Anger"

Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32

Mark 11:11-12, 15-19

      “How could you do that!?!” Cindy screeched at her husband Al.  “You make me furious!”  With that, Cindy slammed the kitchen cabinet door with such force that all the spice jars jumped out of the rack on the side of the cabinet and crashed into the sink.  Without so much as a word, Al did one of those quiet storm things out of the kitchen.  He went straightaway to his shed where he began working on his lawn tractor.  Like most guys, Al often released his anger through physical exertion.  That made him a standout linebacker in high school, and a very productive mechanic in his adult life.  Meanwhile, Cindy remained in the kitchen simmering her beef stew, and simmering her feelings.  Al’s anger dissipated.  Feeling guilty, and being the Christian woman she was, Cindy changed the label for her emotions from anger to hurt.