Last night as I was waiting to pick up my daughter from soccer practice, I scanned through the radio stations and landed on a “Christian” station. The preacher on the air was talking about “the LGBT question.” He made an argument that weaved the Constitution and the Bible together very intimately and then made the following statement: “LGBT people have no standing before the law. They need to sit down and shut up.”
I sat in disbelief and horror of what I just heard. Did he really just say that…out loud…on the radio for all to hear? Did I hear that right? Where is the Gospel in that message? No where.
Are we going to rule and be ruled by anger? Will the angry mob be in charge?
Anger is deadly. It does not produce life, but rather bitterness, dissension, scapegoating, threats, ruin of careers, relationships, lives. Anger is a flame that is uncontrollable and that burns anything in its path – both friend or foe.
Anger is irrational, not open to debate, or conversation or listening in anyway. Anger is all consuming and demands compliance. Anger will do anything to bring all within its deadly grasp.
The opposite of anger is calm, ease, joy, love, peace, contentment. These things can not live in the same place with anger. They are much like light and darkness. The difference between them is so very clear – with anger, a person is like a violent sea, being thrown to and fro at the will of the waves – reacting to every little thing – a victim. Love, joy, peace and calmness are a calm sea – where a person no longer reacts, but can respond. When they respond, it is not out of necessity, but out of love.
Anger leads to blood being shed – the blood of the one labeled as the cause of the anger – regardless of the truth. The scapegoat.
Anger leads to death – death of conversation, death of relationships, death of trust, death of people.
Why, oh why, must we traverse this road? Why do we choose a path that is so jagged and littered with victims of those who have gone this way before – a path of anger. Why do we choose such a path so well traveled throughout history? Do we follow this path because it is the common path – the wide road that has been heavily traveled and so we just follow it because there have been so many who have traveled it so many times before. Do we think that the road will be different?
Or is it something else – maybe we travel it because we know exactly where it goes. We travel it because we feel that because we know, we are in control. Anger is as old as the first sin – the desire to be like God. And when we woke up to the truth that we are not God, we grew angry. Angry that we were lied too, angry that the lie wasn’t true, angry that someone else bought into the lie, angry that there were consequences for our decision, angry that we were not in control.
Why do we not learn from the past? Why do men and women willingly carry your heavy burden, oh Anger. Why? Why do we think we can master you when history has shown that we become your slaves? Why?
Why do we willingly reject peace, love, calm, and hope? Why do we always only give these ways such a short leash that whenever there is a sign of challenge, we rip ourselves away from them to go back to our habits which lead to death?
Why do people not see the predictable fate that you, oh Anger, lead to? Why?
Why do people who serve you not see what they become under your tutelage?
What are we to do, oh Lord of peace? Are we to fight anger? Or in fighting, do we become angry and become that which is not us.
Or instead, do you call us to something completely different? That regardless of what others may do, do you call us to live a way of peace, love, hope, and calm. Do you call us to live these out, not waiting for the perfect time and scenario because right now is the perfect time to live these out. The perfect time to live the way of peace, love, hope and calm is in the midst of the fury of anger. To be a light in a world lost in darkness. To be the calm, small, still voice that calms the waters of the turbulent seas of anger.
You call us, Lord, to be your hands and feet in service to our neighbors and our world. You also call us to be a message of peace, hope, love and calmness through your word and through our lives.
You don’t call us to the well-worn path, but rather to the path less traveled. It is not an easy path. You know the anxiety we feel in the center of our very being. You have equipped us to carry on, not in order to earn anything, but to be your light in this dark world. Help us to be that light always and if we have to, to use words – give us those words when the time is right. We don’t know what is along this path, but we know where the less traveled path leads – it leads to a city, the New Jerusalem, where the water and the tree of life flow from its very center to nourish and replenish and restore all of creation. It is a city where there will be no more tears of sorrow. Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain and anger will be no more. For they will have passed away. All that is left is you.