Reflection by Vyv Wainwright – Reader
Once upon a time Mr Very Angry arrived in a car park in a small historic market town somewhere in the centre of England. He loved to drive around in his very angry red fast car and would rev his engine hard to scare the dear ladies of the parish. He parked his car where he was not allowed to, as was his custom, and went to pay for his ticket. But then he got very very angry indeed and shouted out very loudly that the horrid car park company did not accept hard earned cash anymore in the parking ticket machines. So, he just went absolutely berserk to the point of seething with rage and utterly losing the plot. Even the Angry App on his phone started getting worried.
Meanwhile God heard how angry Mr Very Angry was up in heaven and wondered what on earth all this anger was about? God therefore decided to dispatched an angel called Timid Tina. Timid Tina begged not to go but God said just be yourself and all will be well. Have faith.
Timid Tina was very pleased with her little electric car that the car department had given her and so she parked it nicely in a nice little parking space especially for nice little electric cars and plug it in all for free. She saw how very angry Mr Very Angry was. She decided to tip-toe up to the ticket machine whilst Mr Very Angry was about to bust a blood vessel. She got out her phone and held it against the ticket machine. Out came a nice little ticket and Mr Very Angry was silent. Timid Tina now reached into the pocket of Mr Very Angry’s suit and took out his phone and held it against the ticket machine and behold out came a ticket.
Mr Very Angry remembered who he was and would have none of this nice and kind behaviour! He was angry, so he snatched the ticket from Timid Tina, shouted at her for interfering and stabbed a telephone number into his phone. Within seconds he was answered and he shouted that he wanted to speak to his MP now. Timid Tina would not have this though. She took the phone out his hand and gave him a right good dressing down about all the nasty things he had done throughout his life by being so horrid and angry. And to cap it all she had been in touch with his Mum who was on her way right now to sort him out. Mr Very Angry now looked more like Mr Very Terrified, oh dear!
Jonah was seriously angry in our Old Testament reading. He had a ticket for the football match in Spain to see Liverpool versus Barcelona but oh no, in came a text from God asking him to go to Nineveh. Pardon me, says Jonah, but are Liverpool playing there? I think not. And so, to cut a long story short, having been delivered back from Spain, courtesy of a whale, Jonah has done as he has asked.
Jonah is not happy. Surely, he should be happy we all say. Have not the people of Nineveh heard the message that Jonah has given from God? Have they not responded? Indeed, they have. Well done surely Jonah? Well actually no, Jonah is well and truly cross. The thing is he thought that God was really going to sort out the city of Nineveh big time. He thought that the missiles would fly in and that zillions of tanks would flood across the plains into the city and there would be loads of street fighting and explosions. Instead the citizens and the cattle of Nineveh, all said sorry.
Now we find Jonah in our reading having a good old-fashioned sulk. He is sulking so much that he totally ignores the fact that God is actually thankful for what he has done and is looking after him. Gosh look at this large leaf plant which just happened to sprout right next to you to provide who with lovely shelter. But Jonah is still sulking and angry. God decided the best thing to do is to ring Jonah and just tell him that actually really deep-down God loves Jonah and God also loves Nineveh and thank you for what you have done but hey don’t get angry – please!
Meanwhile, in the New Testament reading the shop stewards meeting has been held and the workers have been consulted and they are disgusted with the way in which the brothers and sisters’ workers have been treated. Thus, there is anger and upset and a cause for a ballot and industrial action. Mrs Vineyard owner is sad. She points out that actually she was only trying to help folk who had no work. She made an offer to each potential employee of one silver coin for working in her vineyard that day. Each person who was approached agreed to these terms and conditions and well they went to work. She therefore feels that she has be made an offer which has been duly accepted by each person and so they should not be angry but surely happy.
Just recently I noted a title on a book called The Right to Anger. On the cover was someone who was angry with their fist up in anger. Anger is a real emotion and a real emotion which often comes from the heart. And yet it can damage the heart and our lives as a consequence, as we know. Even Jesus got angry the day he went into the temple and kicked over the tables of the money changers.
As we see and know anger does occur in life. Over the last few years anger seems to have come out of the woodwork somehow with road rage, riots, violence against the police, ambulance crews, medical staff in hospitals and the fire service all when these very people are trying to help out. Anger against MPs, councillors and many professionals, teachers, workers and just about everyone. And where does it get us? Blood pressure, heart attacks, stress.
Surely as Christians we are people of peace? People who will listen to genuine concerns and upsets of others and do our best to understand. But surely, we are peace makers, are we not? Does not Jesus say that Blessed are the peace makers?
Cry out about injustice, cry out about the way in which the creation is being treated, cry out for peace on the planet, cry out about abuse and torture, march, protest and email your MP or councillor. Yet let us not forget that we are people of peace.
If you are feeling angry then count to 10, talk to someone (not shout) and get help if you feel you need it or you might like to say this prayer from the Northumbrian Community –
Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm
Still me O Lord
Keep me from harm
Let al, the tumult within in me cease
Enfold me Lord in your peace.