I’m at a strange stage of this ‘corona-coaster’ journey in which I am feeling angry quite a lot of the time. I’m irritated, disappointed, short-tempered, livid, annoyed, all with an undercurrent of grumpy (my family know this!)
I remember listening to a member of Pussy Riot as she spoke at Greenbelt a couple of years ago, sharing the shocking abuses of both church and state in her life. I was confused by how gentle and softly spoken she was, even as she was talking about using their music to stir up a violent, rebellious storm of change. If I was her, I thought, I’d be angry all the time! But…
Probably, I wouldn’t. I find anger exhausting, it’s all consuming and maybe there’s a little bit of me that feels it’s not very British or Christian to be angry. Yet, I. Am. Angry.
I’d like to say it’s the ‘clearing the temple’ kind of righteous anger with action in mind……..nope, it’s more a disturbing inner seething. I am aware of spikes caused by realisations of my internal racism, ridiculous tweets, pompous politicians, social media storms, and seeing good people shackled by broken institutions. And……..self centred resentfulness at the constraints still around us and our communities. How can it be, that offering a hug to anyone outside my household has become illegal for goodness sake?!
In this lockdown lifestyle. I’m locked up with me……..with myself.……and God.
The prayer app I’m using addressed imprisonment this morning………
“In God’s eyes, less is often more. God can transform a trapped space” (Into The Desert – Day 16)
As I read it, I could relate to Sarah – laughing internally at the angel’s promise of God’s future transformation of her story. I definitely wasn’t ready speak out the (frustrated? Collaborative?) phrase which was in my head – “come on then God”
As our Missional community has begun to explore the stories in the Bible of some who were entrapped or imprisoned (Noah, Joseph, Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul to name a few), I have been wondering initially, where are the names of the women? (there’s another head of steam brewing!) Next, I have been asking, what it was really like for those humans? Did Noah feel angry too at the idea of a God who wanted to kill his friends and neighbours?
I read how their stories continued. There was a rainbow promise, a star studded career in Egypt, a dramatic incident in a lions den. In contrast, there was a sad end for John and we are told that was Paul’s fate too.
If I allow God to meet me in my anger and even transform me, I don’t know what kind of ending my story will have? Will it be spotlights or ashes?
Maybe all I can offer is a desire to let go of an outcome, a longing to be able to say that being close to God is enough……maybe, even whilst I’m still angry, to echo the words of an unmarried teenage mum who said yes to God, without knowing the future, and sang her story;
He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
The callous rich were left out in the cold. (Luke 1 52-53 The Message)
Come on then God.
Lucy Bolster June 2020