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Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Absurdity

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’ve blogged about this passage before, about how 15 years ago (!) I had just read and journaled about it when I learned my dad was in ICU. It’s remained a powerful passage for me ever since in both trials and blessings.

It truly is a remarkable thing to ponder. Over the years it’s come to mind repeatedly in very different circumstances:

  • as I traveled through the darkest time in my life dealing with depression and loss
  • as I struggled in my marriage and through the process of rebuilding & growing closer again
  • as I walked with my mom through serious health and mental struggles
  • as I’ve given up some very big and long-held dreams for myself
  • as I’ve looked at the messy world around me and have been angry about politics and news and actions of my fellow man

Am I really supposed to embrace that passage and to rejoice always? In each of those circumstances am I to truly give thanks? Are they really God’s will for me?

How absurd!

And yet … there it is. What does it mean, really? How can I truly believe it, embrace it, and integrate it as part of my life of faith?

The thing is, I do believe it – at least at some level. I do know that God brings good out of evil; that all people have blessings and trials and “what we do about them” shapes who we are. I do believe the poem, The Plan of the Master Weaver (found here) is wise and that dark threads are important in our lives.

The challenge for me is learning to live it, to trust God. That brings me back to prayer – and maybe that’s the point of it anyway.

More and more I understand how little control we really have. Anger and worry always makes me more miserable but don’t solve the problem. I’m learning (over and over) to just take care of the things that God has placed before me, to offer kindness and mercy to others, to try to make my little corner of the world a better place, and to leave the rest to God. He’s got this … really.

And somehow over the years, that passage has come to seem more possible and less absurd.

 

 

 

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33 After this, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably and to show him the burnt offering that was being sacrificed for the king.
34 But he mocked and ridiculed them, defiled them, and spoke arrogantly.
35 In a rage he swore: “If Judas and his army are not delivered to me at once, when I return victorious I will burn this temple down.” He went away in great anger.
36 The priests, however, went in and stood before the altar and the sanctuary. They wept and said:
37 “You have chosen this house to bear your name, to be a house of prayer and supplication for your people.
(1 Maccabees 7:33-37)

This morning as I read this passage, I wept.

What a reflection of today’s world, of its hatred toward the people of God. In large ways (martyrs in the middle east) and smaller ways, “comedians,” “artists,” and “celebrities” mock and ridicule believers; groups disrupt mass and attempt to defile the altar and Eucharist.

And as in this passage, besides the arrogance there is often great anger.

I get it that not all Christians behave very well; I understand people sometimes feel wounded by the church. But I read a passage like this and I feel great sorrow for all involved … both for the people being mistreated, and also for the people who are so filled with anger and rage, arrogance and disgust at other people … even who have received them peaceably.

What an pitiable existence; how empty and without peace. How broken.

These people are not my enemy. I fast and I pray for them, sincerely. What an amazing witness it would be if a Bill Maher, Madonna, or Dan Savage were to be transformed even as Paul was.

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the
principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness,

with the evil spirits in the heavens.
(Ephesians 6:12)

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