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This week in the Lectionary, we read the account of Jesus clearing the temple of corruption in John 2. We get the idea that the sellers and moneychangers who had set up shop there are perhaps doing some corruption, and Jesus is mad about it. Using religion for economic gain, perhaps? Exploiting the poor in the name of religion? Wielding economic power unjustly? Maybe confusing the economic interests of a wealthy few with the good of all? Or maybe confusing their "rights" with their responsibility to care for the poor and dependent?
Whatever it was, Jesus wasn't having it. He got angry and caused a ruckus. He turned tables and dumped moneyboxes, and had himself a good cathartic outburst. I wonder how long he'd held it in before he finally let it boil over?
And this scripture is timely. I think a lot of us are angry. Some of us, because we feel threatened and defensive in light of the justice movements happening in our culture. Some of us, because we've been victimized and justice still hasn't come. We need the contemplative mind, the self-reflective mind, the non-reactive mind, to help us through angry times.
God, we are angry:
Angry at injustice,
Angry at violence,
Angry at empire.
Some of us are angry and acting out
Some of us are asleep to our anger
Some of us are stuck in anger.
Some of us have buried our anger.
Some of us are angry because we feel threatened.
Some of us are angry because we feel victimized.
We wait for the day when we are at peace
When mercy reigns
When all hearts are filled with love
When we don’t need anger anymore.
Until that day, help us oh God, to handle our anger with care;
To not be consumed by it
To funnel it into justice and mercy,
To temper it with strong love,
To be angry without sin,
To do justly without vengeance.
Let the words of our mouths
And the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable to you, O LORD,
Our rock and our redeemer. (1)
Make of us,
By prayer, fasting, and charity,
By spiritual practice and discipline,
A people filled with love.
1) Psalm 19:4