Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 5: Righteous Anger

Day 5:
Theme: Righteous Anger
Passage: John 2:12-17

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Have you ever had a moment where you found that you had enough? You were so irate and the injustice that you couldn’t help but speak up? As we read above, we see that Jesus had just had one of those moments.

One of my favorite cartoons to watch as a child, and the subject of a movie was Popeye. There was a point in every show where Popeye would say “I’ve had all I can Stanz, I can’t Stanz no more!” Then popping open a can of Spinach he would begin to change the situation.

This is what we could refer to as a POPEYE MOMENT…

Richard Sterns, the President of World Vision, in his book The Hole in our Gospel discusses a Popeye moment for him. A Moment where knowledge required action.

Whenever a major jetliner crashes anywhere in the world, it inevitably sets off a worldwide media frenzy covering every aspect of the tragedy. I want you to imagine for one moment that you woke up this morning to the following headline: “One Hundred Jetliners Crash, killing 26,500”. Think of the pandemonium this would create across the world as head of state, parliaments, and congresses convened to grapple with the nature and causes of this tragedy. Think about the avalanche of media covering that it would ignite around the globe as reporters shared the shocking news and tried to communicate its implications for the world. Air travel would no doubt grind to a halt as governments shut down the airlines and panicked air travelers canceled their trips. The National Transportation Safety Board and perhaps the FBI, CIA and a few local law enforcement agencies and their international equivalents would mobilize investigations and dedicate whatever manpower was required to understand what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

Now imagine that the very next day, one hundred more planes crashed – and on hundred more the next, and the next, and the next. It is unimaginable that something this terrible could ever happen.

But it did – and it does.

It happened today, and it happened yesterday. It will happen again tomorrow. But there was no media coverage. No heads of state, parliament, or congresses stopped what they were doing to address this crisis, and no investigations were launched. Yet more than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that. Almost 10 million children will be dead in the course of a year. So why does the crash of a single plane dominate the front pages of a newspaper across the world while the equivalent of one hundred planes filled with children crashing daily never reaches our ears? And even thought we now have the awareness, the access, and the ability to stop it, why have we chosen not to? Perhaps one reason is that these kids who are dying are not our kids; they’re somebody else’s. 1

That is a tough statement but it does describe our character as Americans. We sit in our wealth, our access to food, our ability to help and we look at AIDS and state “They brought this on themselves”. Try saying that to the face of a 5 year old that has lost both parents and two siblings to the disease that they now themselves are facing. It is easy to be pious from miles away. After all, they are not OUR children.

But if we are truly following Jesus, where would he be? Would he be passionately pursing ways to help make a difference in the world, or ignoring it? We saw from the passage above that Jesus saw the temple being used for un-holy practices and he made a difference. What do you see that causes you to be righteously indignant? Is it the child whose parents let them do as they please while they both work multiple jobs to pay for the house, the car, the cable and the cell phones? Is it the young girl who is not accepted at church because she is pregnant and un-married?


What will you take a stand for?

Which part of God’s heart will you find and never be the same from?
His heart for Orphans, or Widows, or the poor, or the suffering, or the infirmed, or the abused, maltreated and self loathing?

Will you allow God to break your heart?

Will you allow him to give you a POPEYE MOMENT where you had all you can ‘STANZ AND YOU CAN’T STANZ NO MORE!’.

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