Preparing for Worship: Wrath & Peace

Preparing for Worship: Wrath & Peace

John Haralson   •   December 2, 2016

“...human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
James 1:20, The Message

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Dear Friends,

This Thursday morning, I was driving my kids to school and was sitting at a red light. I did something I never have done before and checked my phone while behind the wheel.  

While I was, um, reading a Bible verse (or checking Twitter, I can’t remember) the light turned green. Because I was engrossed in my phone, I didn’t realize it. In about three tenths of a second, the person behind me angrily beeped their horn. 

Startled back to reality, I put my eyes back on the road and lurched forward. I commented to my kids something about the angry, impatient driver behind me. I was now angry with their anger against me. 

That little story encapsulates so much of our lives. 

We get angry because we want to make things right. We think our anger is a cleansing force in the world.

We get angry because we want the driver in front of us to pay attention. We get angry because we want the driver behind us to chill the heck out. We get angry with the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. Or, maybe those results made us happy, but we’re still mad about the 2012 election.

We think our anger can fix things and make the world right.

Oh, how do we overestimate the power of our anger.

At the same time, however, I think we’re on to something. Anger is supposed to be a cleansing and powerful force for good in the world. The problem is, our anger is weak, impotent, and too impure to be fully trusted. 

That’s where we need God’s anger. 

Yes, you read that correctly. We need God to be angry. We need his anger to come and visit us and our world. And, we need his anger so everything that is wrong can be made right.

Sounds scary, doesn’t it? 

But, because of the work of Jesus on our behalf, the anger of God has become a healing force for us and the world. Through the work of Christ, God’s anger is not only pure, but it is also restorative. 

God’s anger leads to a peace beyond our imagination.

This Sunday: Wrath & Peace, Isaiah 11:1-9; Matthew 3:1-12; Psalm 72.

I hope to worship with you.

Liturgy is here

John

PS Just a reminder that there will be a congregational meeting during Christian Formation Hour to discuss the current staff transition at Grace.