Monday, March 29, 2010

Anger.

Anger.  The kind of heat that makes a person tip over tables and run people out of a room anger.  The kind of I-can't-believe-you-would-even-think-of-squaring-this-with-what-you-say-you-are anger that makes a person blow his top.  Or her top.  We don't like to talk about anger as being congruent with living as a Christ-one, and I tiptoe very carefully here, because there are mine-fields a plenty, but here I go.

Jesus got mad the last week of His pre-nailed life.  Scorching hot mad.  At the one thing, the singular thing that would stir Him to such an emotion: what they'd done to His Father's house.  The mockery they'd made of it with their money-grubbing booths and tables where they sold sacrifices to the poor folk who just wanted to worship.  Jesus raised His voice and turned on them, and that may have been the final straw, from their point of view, the one last thing that decided them once and for all to get rid of Him.  They couldn't have it, wouldn't have it!  So to death with Him,  to Hell with Him, literally.

I've often thought about Jesus' anger at God's house, then think about what goes on in God's house today, and how He might react, if He walked through the doors and saw it going on.  And here's what I think He'd be most troubled by:  how we try to make God's house, His worship, His very Church into our image, rather than lay ourselves on the altar and surrender, asking Him to make us into His!  For instance (and here's the largest landmine I can think of), worship music. If there are different generations in a church, there are struggles with music in worship.  How it's played, how loud it's played, how many songs, etc.  Having been an elder in a church, I was 'privileged' to listen to many complaints for those years from every angle of this question.  And I have to say, sometimes I imagined Jesus walking through the door and overturning the very table where we were sitting and talking about it.  "How dare you fight over this in my Father's house?"  Because worship isn't about us.  It isn't about what makes us happy or comfortable or content.  It's about God.  It's about the creature praising the Creator, about the gift responding to the Giver, about the lesser glorifying the greater.  It seems to me that we are so far off the mark at times when we talk about what we   do in worship that we never see beyond the end of our noses.  WE barely do anything.

In fact, come to think of it, it's like what Mr. Beaver says in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when Edmund asks if the White Witch will turn Aslan into stone. 
"Lord love you, Son of Adam, what a simple thing to say!" answered Mr. Beaver with a great laugh.  "Turn him into stone?  If she can stand on her own two feet and look him in the face it'll be the most she can do and more than I expect of her." (emphasis mine!)

I think if we really, really got what is going on when we gather together to worship our God, the one who created us, the one who died for us, went to hell and back for us, and resurrected all for our sorry souls who don't have the brains we were born with (as my mother used to say), if we really understood that He joins us there, we'd be shaking in our boots.  In joy and wonder and awe and a healthy dose of fear. And who the heck would care about the dang music?  I mean God Himself standing right there beside you and you're worried about some song you don't have a hankering for?  For goodness sake, stop it.  For God's sake, yes, for God's sake, He's really there, it's really His house, and He says, He promises that if we're all there together, so is He.  So are we going to take Him at His word or not?

And that, my friends, is my take on anger.  And how angry I can get as well.  Probably not, I dare say, without sinning.  OK, definitely not without sinning. I know who I am.  What I am.  Still.

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