Tuesday in Holy Week

by Matthew B. Harper

Mark 11:15 – And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying…

I used to think that this verse was the root of all the arguments for a ‘righteous’ anger. And yet when I have reread this passage over and over again, there is no sign of the word ‘anger.’ Jesus made his point with action and judgment, but only out of necessity and not out of anger.

This action of Jesus is the end result of trying to teach people the right way, and having them disobey. I think Jesus actions were rooted in a great frustration with people who wouldn’t listen, or who listened and wouldn’t understand or obey. Jesus felt the need to do something dramatic, and also something very human.

We often react out of anger when we don’t know what else to do. When we are frustrated and fed up we lash out. But the problem is that when we lash out in anger we often defeat ourselves. Ultimately there is no way to gain the cooperation of an individual who is unwilling.

In the last twenty years society has increased sentences tenfold. There are more people incarcerated in the US than there are in communist China. And to me this seems like a white flag of defeat. We are admitting to a total failure to control society, and we are resorting to simple force and anger. This power may bring compliance, but it will never instill morality and beliefs.

Morality and beliefs come only through teaching and compassion. No ex-con has ever made it on the outside out of fear of prison, but almost no men who have become deeply involved in the love ministry of Kairos and the church have ever come back.

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us to glory in the cross of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen” BCP 168

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