copyright © 2001 Lee Moyer

Substitute Preacher

By Lee Moyer

Begun 11/12/01

Performed 11/30/01



Welcome to the First Church of Judith, where since the turn of the millennium we have come to worship in the name of Judith Christ.

My name is Lou Cipher, and (as I’m sure you know) I am not your regular scheduled pastor.



I am not your regular scheduled pastor. No indeed.

It is with a heavy heart that I mount the pulpit here today.

Pastor Eldritch was hospitalized last evening after suffering what his doctor’s assure me was nothing more severe than a heart attack. What caused this attack is unknown at this time. All we know for certain is that it occurred while he was a watching our local UPN affiliate.

I know your hearts go out with mine to the Pastor as he recuperates at home today under his doctor’s explicit instruction.

So think of me as a one-Sunday-only sermonizer. A Substitute Preacher if you will...



Now, I don’t know anything of where you left off in the Text- the pastor’s notes were somewhat vague on that point. So I think it might be good to consider your own Pastor’s mortality. And maybe think upon the lives we all lead. With that thought in mind, let me ask you:

What’s so deadly about the Seven Deadly Sins?

Can you tell me what those sins are?

Don’t be shy now. I won’t bite.

Yes, Lust!

That’s very good sir.

Well, Lust is the first thing on the minds of some of us here today. And why not? Lust is a simple desire for pleasure, for gratification of our senses, especially of a sexual nature. So it is written, and so indeed I believe it is.

So, I ask you congregation, what’s wrong with that? Did not the good lord above grant to us five senses? How many among you really know the last time you smelled something of the divine? When you last tasted something sublime? When you touched the thigh of a… ahem.

It is perfectly human to feel such yearnings, and to have them fulfilled, is it not? We are but creatures of flesh and blood as the Lord herself made us, and yet the desire for sensual attainment is listed here as one of seven "deadly" sins.

OK, who can tell me another one?

Pride; yes indeed- A sense of one’s own dignity and worth I believe it is. Is that wrong somehow? Should we be meek and mild and easily brought to heel by any old tin-plated, un-elected despot? A tsar? A pope? An Imam? I think not.

Anger, yes. Mighty Anger- A righteous and important emotion. Without anger, nothing ever changes. This great country would not exist but for righteous anger. There would have been no historical Tea party in Boston, no Declaration of Independence. No Little Big Horn.

Covetousness. Without coveting things, well… We’d never buy anything we didn’t need. Imagine! Never again an impulse buy in the express lane at the Piggly Wiggly, or at the day-after-Thanksgiving everything-must-go bonanza! Wouldn’t this be just another lame, impoverished third world country without covetousness? I think it would. Yes, it surely would my brothers and sisters.

Are you getting the same vibe I am from this list of so-called Deadly Sins?

That perhaps — just perhaps- we in the church been… How shall I put this? Wrong… for years.

Perhaps the emphasis should never have been on these so-called Sins, but instead on the word Deadly.

There’s nothing in this world that leads to Death… like Life.

Are you with me here people?

And if these so-called Sins are the hallmarks of living rich and free and sexually satisfied, well, I’ve got to say I’m all for them. Aren’t you?

It seems that what we all need to do is get over the stigma we have about being alive, and live while the good Lord allows.

The problem, it seems to me, is not the glorious sensual (and sexual) existence we have been given by the good Lord above. No no, the only problem is Death itself. Rather than what the church has been telling us for years (Do not engage in these Sinful acts!), they should have been saying just the opposite (Fit in as many acts as you can my brethren, but do so mindfully and in balance. One with the other).

The only thing that’s wrong with these sins lies in their constancy. Sloth and Gluttony are fine, even desirable- You’ve just got to get into the correct rhythm. Too much of a good sin- now THAT’S a problem. Too little of a Sin is also not desirable, is it?

If more of our workaholic parishioners could be bothered with a little bit of Sunday Sloth, wouldn’t they be better off?

If the anorexics among us - those little engines of willpower gone wrong - would just eat a sandwich or a saltine occasionally…

It’s neither Vanity nor Gluttony you need to beware of; it’s too much of one at the expense of the other.

So, I charge you, in the name of Judith Christ, get out there! Seize the Day! There’s only so much eating and drinking and vanity and righteous pride and fornicating that this holy day can hold.

I say- Get thou busy brothers and sisters!

Get down with your selves, and to those selves be true!

Now, are there any members of today’s congregation that would like to continue a discussion of Lust with me in chambers?

Bless you ma’am, and Hallelujah brothers and sisters. Amen!





"Substitute Preacher" debuted November 30, 2001.

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