notes from a small curate
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
Matt 5 - On being angry with God
Good Shepherd 16/10/2005 (Communion / Healing Service)
1 John 3.1-3, Matthew 5.1-12
Rosa Parks .... why did she do what she did?
"The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose." 
ANGER... which she shared with everyone else in her community. ANGER... at the way others were treating her and her people. Anger at them. Anger at the authorities who allowed it to carry on. Anger perhaps at God...?
MANY PEOPLE GET ANGRY WITH GOD. Why?
EXAMPLES IN SCRIPTURE:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, I have prevailed over him, lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Naomi in Ruth 1.20-21 (having lost husband and sons)
"Don't call me Naomi," she answered; "call me Marah, because Almighty God has made my life bitter. When I left here, I had plenty, but the Lord has brought me back without a thing. Why call me Naomi when the Lord Almighty has condemned me and sent me trouble?"
YOU AND I MAY HAVE CAUSE TO BE ANGRY WITH GOD SOMETIMES. IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG IN THIS?
ANGER WITH GOD SHOWS THAT THE ANGRY PERSON DOES HAVE SOME FAITH IN GOD. EXAMPLES IN SCRIPTURE:
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
ANGER... can bring us closer to God: help us understand God, and help us understand the situation better.
(Share my story of my anger with God over Nana's final painful illness and her - seemingly unanswered - screams of help to God; my deeper understanding of her - and Him - through that ... Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light....)
BRINGING OUR ANGER TO GOD ... can give us the energy to face the cause of our anger. In Rosa Parks' case her anger, expressed, helped her to make a stand, take a chance to stand up for herself and others:
"They placed me under arrest. And I wasn't afraid.
I don't know why I wasn't, but I didn't feel afraid.
I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen, even in Montgomery, Alabama."
Rosa Parks - an example of the meaning of the Beatitudes where God upturns expectations....
In today's prayers for healing we may bring any concern we have, for ourselves, for others. And we don't have to be polite with god in our prayers. If we are angry we can tell God we are angry. If we are angry we can put that anger into the lighting of our candle on the way up to the communion rail.
If we are angry we can also expect God to listen very attentively to us; to care deeply about addressing the cause of our anger; to change a situation, perhaps, by his Holy Spirit, to change us, to bring healing and replace our anger with an increase of faith.
 Rosa Parks quotes lifted from a blog entry by Pip