Monday, April 02, 2007

Angry in Church, Surely Not! Holy Monday, April 2

Reading today's Lectionary from the Gospel of Mark, (this could be the wrong year's reading, my source was a bit fuzzy, the lesson is still poignant for me today.) the lesson is that of the Fig Tree that Jesus cursed on the way back to Jerusalem. Mark11:12-25.

This story speaks to me today because of the things that Jesus is doing and the emotion that he is showing. Seems that Jesus wanted breakfast and he saw a fig tree near by, so he went to the tree to get a fig, when he got there the tree was barren. One of the things that stands out in this reading is that it isn't time for the fig tree to be bearing fruit, but it is leafed out. Jesus shows anger and tells the tree that it will never bear fruit again-ever. He walks away knowing that the disciples have heard him say this.

From the fig tree we see Jesus and his disciples going to the temple in Jerusalem. When Jesus goes into the temple he sees the money changers, (the temple had its own scrip,) and it was good for buying sacrificial animals and probably grain for the offerings in the temple. Enraged, Jesus turns the place over. I can see metal slugs of temple money scattering and bouncing on the floor, pigeons flying out of their cages all over the place, scared, but free. I like to think that Jesus out of breath when he says, “My house was designed as a house of prayer for all people, but you've turned it into a hangout for thieves.”
This story speaks to me in a unique way because it shows Jesus showing an emotion that we haven't seen before in the gospels. ANGER, RAGE and HAD-IT-UP-TO-HERE. It helps me to know that it is true that Jesus felt every thing that I feel.

Rarely have I ever gotten to the point in my anger that I have turned over tables, instead I tend to do other things that aren't nearly as healthy, I tend to internalize it and try to justify it. I don't think that is always the healthiest way to cope with these emotions. It is apparent that even Jesus had his limit and it amazes me even more that Jesus would show his anger at the two places where I think it is easiest for me to experience anger, In line at Mc Donalds trying to get breakfast, and dare I say it? I dare, I dare, I get angry at church.

Jesus shows that there comes a point when enough is enough, and I'm sure that knowing that he was slowly walking toward his death didn't make things easier. I'm sure the anger boiled up after he saw that his teaching had not been taken seriously by the people who only yesterday were lining the streets and treating him like a victorious king, a Super Bowl winner or a visiting, much loved film star.

But there comes a point for all of us when enough is enough, and while it may seem a bit awkward to think of it when we consider Jesus as being the patient teacher, the man with the healing touch, the victorious grand marshal, that he got to the point that he was angered, but I think it was stronger than that, he was enraged to the point to make it clear that he had it up to here with being Mr. Nice Guy. I think he displayed what can only be called more of his holy boldness.

“In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled up to a dry stick. Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, “Rabbi, look—the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!”

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