An Angry Prayer

How did they receive you, Lord Jesus?
Not when you arrived at the stable in Bethlehem
or in the synagogue in Nazareth
or when you entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
But how did they receive you when you became angry?
Did they admire your thoughtfulness toward the downtrodden
when you condemned hypocrisy,
or your devotion to God’s Spirit when you called out blasphemers?
Did they respect your passion for economic justice
and your sense of religious propriety
when you cleared the temple courtyard?
You who prayed the psalms—
including those that expressed anger at other people
and even anger toward God—
help us to better comprehend our anger.
In understanding what makes us angry,
help us to express it not out of hate,
but as an act of justice. And in understanding our own anger,
help us to judge the anger of others.
Give us to see that it is a God-given emotion
that can be used for good,
and that all God’s children have a right to express it.

At the same time, help us to judge rightly
when anger is used as a weapon against those who identify injustice,
who tell their own story,
or who are even as they express themselves undergoing anguish.
Forgive us when we allow only those whose power is threatened
to lash out in anger—
when we attribute strength to angry men,
but bad temperament to angry women;
when we look to the rage of the privileged
as a place of protection,
but see only threat
in the anger of the disadvantaged.

Help us not to take our anger with us into our evening rest,
but, during the day that you have given us for toil,
to work for justice and strive for peace,
whether in kindness or in anger,
in good times or in bad,
with those who love us or those who disrespect us.
And in all things, may we seek first the kingdom you preached,
as we pray all these things in your Name—
for you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit
as one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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