Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Today’s text

Matthew 5:21-24

'You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, “You shall not kill;” and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother “Fool” will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him “Traitor” will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.’


Last night, the evening news carried faces of anger into my living room. Nothing unusual about that, the news always includes stories about the destruction wrought by people and nations enflamed by rage.

But these images were disturbing because they were close-up and involved people doing something most of us do everyday--driving.

The subject of the story was road rage. And the disturbing images were faces of people carried away by their anger, twisted and distorted faces yelling and cursing as they physically beat on the cars of those who had become objects of their rage.

Their twisted faces are, in fact, a distortion of humanity, a degradation of what human beings are and are created to be.

This is easy to see when the anger is that of someone else and when we are calm and uninvolved. But when we are violated by injustice or disrespect anger makes us forget that other human beings are so much more than objects for our approval or disapproval.

It is easy to forget that each is an expression of the creative love of God, even when they don’t act like it and seem to deserve condemnation. It is also easy to forget that our lives are not about winning and losing or about protecting ourselves and our dignity.

We are players in a big story. The Spirit of God is working unity among all people and creation.

The anger that separates us from each other, the anger that denounces and rejects, that pushes others away and divides people and nations from each other violates the Spirit’s work. Such anger creates the hell of separation, the twisted distortions I saw on my TV screen.

There is a good anger, a righteous anger that knows and feels what God is doing from one end of creation to another. We have seen such anger in the lives of great saints and leaders, the Martin Luther Kings of the world, but also in common lives moved to feed the hungry, seek justice and live with mercy.

Their anger is directed toward all that destroys the holy oneness, the unity of compassion and joy into which God is drawing us. In that unity, no one is an object, and twisted faces can relax and find their dignity.

Pr. David L. Miller

No comments: