Met any Anger Lately?
Over the past months, I have bumped into a lot of anger. One friend I know tells of no longer being able to stnad hearing the voice of the President. If he comes on the TV, she leaves the room. Another friend is still mad at former President Clinton, and develops a pronounced hiss in his voice and a tightness to his face at the mention of his name. At dinner some time ago, in the middle of a friendly and rambling conversation, a church building project came up and my friend blurted out with a profanity about "that ___________ building!" then covered her mouth and said "Ooops!" Driving home from the market a couple Saturdays ago Martha and I saw a pickup truck cut off another pickup truck, horns blasted, fingers were thrown up into the air and they tore after each other down streets, while we headed the opposite way. What's this all about? Do you sense it too?
It seems like so many situations have folks with big pots of anger simmering just beneath the surface of life. It only takes a small spark to set off a blast of hurt, anger, rage, whatever. I've heard rants about health care, organized religion, the school system, politics (yikes, way too much), the wealthy, the poor, past infranctions, remembered insults, moral indiscretions not forgotten, .....
In getting ready for Sunday's sermon on Jesus healing the leper in Mark 1:40-45, I am reading the companion Psalm 30, where the Psalmist declares abouut God "for his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime!" And as I reflected I thought how many of us live that Psalm upside-down "our favor is for a moment; but our anger is for a lifetime!" Isn't it great to know that God's dominant currency is joy, not anger? So, what's with us then? Why do we need to traffic in the currency of anger so much? And why do I so quickly default to a response of anger at the slightest provocation or infraction?
The prayer at the end of the Psalm needs to be my prayer: "You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have taken off my sackcloth (anger??) and clother me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent."