Once more, I take my good friend Jesus to the Theatre of my Life.

We are going to see a rerun of the show” The Seven Deadly Sins.”

“Not again!” Jesus sighs

We sit in comfortable seats near the back of the theatre but even from a distance, the players look tired, more dead than deadly.

They were shuffling aimlessly around the stage.

Jesus yawns. “Which one is yours?”

I know I have to put the players in some order, so go up to the stage.

Yes, they are indeed, a sorry lot.

Pride is half asleep. Anger wants to be somewhere else. Lust offers a hopeful smile, but I put it to the back of the group. Lust always looks ridiculous in public.

Finally, I pull out Gluttony, make it stand at the front of the stage, and I go back to my seat.

My friend Jesus is not impressed. “Where are the real sins?” he asks.

They’re all there,” I wave my hand at the stage.

He shakes his head. “These are small self-indulgence. Where ate the big players?”

Big players? I don’t know what that means.

He says, “It’s a plot as old as humanity. The little characters are put out on the stage while the big players work behind the scenes, unnoticed.”

“What big players?” I ask.

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes, I do.”

“I will mention two. They are hard to recognize because they usually wear the garments of virtue.

“The first big player is competition.”

“Competition,” I repeat.

“That is the dominator. Competition wants to be better than others.” Jesus pauses. “I had this player in my own team.”

I remember that Jesus taught equality. I remind him, “You said that he who would be first must come last and be servant of all.”

“That didn’t stop the competition amongst my followers.” He looks thoughtful.

“What’s the other big player?”

“Judgmental thinking. If competition is the dominator, Judgmental thinking is the divider.”

“Haven’t they both got good aspects?” I ask.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he says. “The human instincts for competition and judgment are meant to be self-directed. Applied to self, they can help spiritual growth. But people project them on others and create all kinds of wars.”

“You said a lot in the gospels about love and peace,” I tell him.

“That hasn’t made much difference, either,” he says. “People make judgments about folk they have never met, and situations they’ve never been in.”

This makes me wonder where Competition and Judgmental thinking lurk in the Theatre of my Life.

I’m sure they’re hiding somewhere backstage.

Jesus continues.

“Those two are big players, but they are not the biggest. They work for the biggest player which can’t be called a sin.

In fact, the biggest player is actually absence.”

“Absence?” I find myself repeating what I don’t understand.

“Yes,” he says. The bggest player is Ignorance. Once we know that all of creation is an aspect of God’s loving presence, the notion of separation is impossible.”

The word “ignorance “becomes huge.

I think of Jesus on the cross saying, “Father forgive them. they know not what they do.”

And I feel close to tears.

But Jesus is now smiling. He stands. “That’s enough for today.”

I indicate the seven characters still waiting on the stage. “What about these?”

“Tell then to go home and sleep.

They look exhausted.”

Then his smile expands to a grin.

“And you might tell Gluttony that I warmly remember his occasional company at table.”

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.



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