Yesterday while eating my lunch I did what I often do when eating lunch by myself, reading either the Seattle Times or the NY Times. I chose Seattle Times mainly because I wanted to check in on some local sports. Part of me wishes I hadn’t read it at all…
The front page held the story of a rural family who had endured many years of trouble and abuse. That all ended last week when the wife refused to come home to her husband for fear of being abused again. She told him she would come the next day to get her things and their five kids. The kids didn’t survive the night as their father shot and killled each of them before killing himself. It turns out that the state new their was abuse going on in the house, but never protected the kids…this whole story of broken families and systems makes me very angry!
Every day there are horrible stories breaking that none of us really want to listen to, but if we don’t…we certainly become either ignorant, numb or we never find ourselves angry.
This morning, I’m thinking about an old U2 song called “Silver and Gold”. It’s a song about slavery and as I was listening to a live version of it the other day I noticed that he breaks from the song…begins to speak out against apartheid and you can hear that Bono’s voice is being heard. His voice is full of anger toward the inequality and violence that made apartheid such an evil existence in our world.
At the end of the song, Bono asks the crowd, “am I bugging you? I don’t mean to bug you!” It’s as if he knows that he can’t help but being a voice of hope to the world, but at the same time there would be so many that would rather he just perform…just entertain…just keep to singing.
Most of us know that Bono has become a loud voice in our world. He’s angry toward injustice, hate, disease, and the way the wealth of the world chooses not to listen. I’m sure many would still rather hear him sing than speak of hope and justice…
I woke this morning angry. It’s not that I’m grumpy or emotional, but there’s an anger stirring in me about five children being shot to death by their father. I’m angry at the mom for thinking of her own self and not going home to protect her kids. I’m angry most of all about the growing world of domestic violence and that it continues to be something the church (mine included) are simply too silent about!
Jesus certainly showed us when anger confronts injustice, that healing and restoration can happen. He became angry towards the silence of the religious leaders as they ignored a crippled man on the Sabbath. His anger lead to complete healing for the man, and the Bible paints the picture of it all taking place in the presence of their silence and hardened hearts.
This image of Jesus’ anger leading to healing is a message to the church. It tells us once again that the church exists for the world, not the world existing for the church! There’s a big difference between both ways of thinking…
Being a voice in this world isn’t easy. I certainly know that if you begin to speak out about things, people will be annoyed and even call into question your faith, theology, and motives. So to that I say…don’t try and be the next Bono, because you’re not. Try and search the scriptures and understand what they say about God and His mission in our broken world. Pray that your heart will be filled with a compassionate anger and that your voice will lead to action from you and the others who are influenced by what or who you feel convicted to speak for.
Love and Peace.