|Pen and Ink Reflections||
How do you feel about anger? I say feel, because anger is not so much something we think about as an emotion we sense, sometimes extremely powerfully, in ourselves and/or in others. It is a deeply challenging feeling too, isn’t it? It can disturb us terribly and cause all kinda of repercussions. It affects our bodies, minds and spirits: sometimes producing violence or illness in, towards or from others. So when we read today, in Ephesians chapter 4 a little about how to deal with anger, we recognise scripture speaking into the realities of our lives. How helpful then is this advice? Well, I don’t know about you, but some of it seems very helpful and some of it a little lacking in the fullness of how to manage anger…
responding to death
How do we respond to death? I don’t ask that as a negative question but because it is at the heart of our Gospel – our Good News – today, and throughout this Holy Week. It is an unavoidable question, however much we try to avoid it: for, as the old proverb has it, two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Yet, more meaningfully, Christians believe, how we respond to death is at the heart of how we find life in this world, which is the ultimate meaning of our Gospel and the culmination of this Holy Week in the Resurrection. So, as we hear today’s Gospel reading (the story of Christ’s Passion according to Luke) - in three parts - let us reflect upon the challenge of death, so that we may find life again more fully, as Jesus offers it to us…
How do we handle anger?
A few years ago I found myself full of a very great deal of anger. I was deeply enraged about a situation in which I and others found ourselves. Anger was certainly quite understandable. Looking back now, I would feel a good deal of that anger again if I was in a similar context. A number of us had been treated badly for some time and others had suffered as a consequence. The final straw was a decision brusquely imposed upon us: a dictatorial imposition which upset, and in many ways contradicted, the very essence of the purposes and relationships in which we were engaged. It was not a happy time, for some time, as we struggled with the pain and the anguish. Such anger both cost and chastened me and also changed and clarified me. For as they say, that which does not kill you makes you stronger. I learned a great deal about myself in the process. I learned that anger is an inevitable part of my passion for life and that, if I am to retain my passion, I must sometime have to deal with anger and express it. Yet I also learned that passion can also destroy if it is not grounded in compassion: daily grounded, ever more deeply, in that divine love which transforms all our human passions, struggles and emotions. This is the path of the cross, the path of Lent, along which we are drawn by Jesus…
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Josephine Inkpin, a married Anglican clergy couple serving with the Uniting Church in Sydney