Anger

Giving Anger to God

“[Destructive] anger crucifies Christ. Destructive anger is our sickness. Our medicine is God’s taking our anger. If we do not give it to God we are not healed of it. We are in bondage to our anger and are not free until our resentment is buried in God. Yes, as shocking as it sounds, we worship God by expressing our honest anger at God.”

C. Fitzsimmons Allison, Guilt Anger and God

 photo by Joanna ES Campbell

photo by Joanna ES Campbell

Anger is one of our highest energy sources. For generations women were taught they could not express it. They kept it in and did terrible things to their bodies, their souls, and anyone who came in contact to them. Men did the same with not being able to show tears which in some way remains our body’s expression of the anger that is not expressible.

The key, of course, is transforming the energy to constructive energy just as plants transform energy from sunlight to change carbon dioxide, our waste product, and water to sugar for plant food and then give off oxygen, the essential by product for our survival. The plant world is our role model. We are to photosynthesize our anger that for us is like carbon dioxide, which if retained in our bodies can kill us.

Amazing how just going outside being near plants, our mentors, is one of the best ways to start the process. Waiting is part of the process. When we are first responders to an event calling up anger, often a disaster, the energy gets scattered all over the atmosphere bumping into the closest survivors, often those we most love. Very few know how to be well trained first responders to anger.

Some of the many other transformative processes for anger are walking, music, writing. I have so many angry moments that have been transformed by my harp strings.

Daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes constant prayers are major transforming spiritual exercises. We can give our anger to God to transform it by honoring the anger with a constant prayer mantra, such as the Jesus Prayer. This has been my own personal gift to God asking for a surgical remedy.

We begin to see signs of transformation of the cancer anger can bring to our souls when we begin to know compassion for others, often others who were injured besides ourselves.

Being in a community where we can safely share our difficulty and see role models who have experienced transformation is another important process for the change.

We rise up out of bed and are called to action that will lead to more compassion. The icon for this was the Women’s March, January 21, 2017, after the inauguration and what happened, more marches, more people, especially women but also men involved where they never walked before.

The absolute test of the transformation is when we begin to feel even the least amount of compassion for those who injured us and others, those who brought on the anger. We begin to see that this happened because they also suffered and never knew the transformative process whose by product is lifesaving love.

Transformation of anger also goes by another name. Resurrection.

Joanna. Joannaseibert.com

Advent

Arthur: Literature for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

“Many of us, when charting the timeline of our lives, can point to a moment when a story or poem happened.” Sarah Arthur, p. 9, Light Upon Light, Paraclete Press 2014.

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Light upon Light is a literary guide of daily and weekly readings and prayers by well-known authors for the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany compiled by Sarah Arthur. She has also written companion similar guides for the long Pentecost season (At the Still Point) and for Lent and Easter (Between Midnight and Dawn). Arthur emphasizes that this is not only a guide to prayer during a time of year that our lives become much to busy, but this is a literary guide to prayer. As we remember and recall times when poems and scripture and fiction moved us in our daily lives, Arthur believes \that good literature can make a difference in our lives when we most need it on a daily basis. The readings begin with the first Sunday in Advent and ends the week of Ash Wednesday.

Arthur hopes to open up our imagination as she exposes us to brief excerpts or short works of writers well known to us as well as some authors we may not know but should! Arthur warns us that at some of the moments that we will encounter as we read this anthology, there should be an alert: “Warning: Powerful Spiritual Moment Ahead!” Arthur suggests that we read each reading not as something for our English Literature class or for pleasure, but as liturgical pieces for worship and especially prayer.

Each week begins with an outline for the week of an opening prayer, scripture readings, readings from literature, a place of personal prayer and reflection, and a closing prayer to use for that week. Arthur suggests applying the ancient principles of lectio divina or divine reading that we have used reading scripture now when reading the poetry and fiction. We read the passage, meditate on it, pay attention to a word or phrase that connects to us, and finally resting in God’s presence. My experience has been to carry that word or phrase with me during that day or perhaps the whole week. Since this process is no longer being used for scripture she has christened it holy reading or lectio sacra.

I invite you to journey with me with Sarah Arthur during the extraordinary seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with an extraordinary spiritual practice of daily worship and prayer.

Joanna Seibert joannaseibert.com

Waiting

Waiting

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

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This is a waiting day. We awake early to wait to see the sun rise one more time from behind the Gulf of Mexico. Amazing. There is one other seeker on the beach sitting at the water’s edge facing the east waiting as well. For a few minutes we are connected, “ the two or three that are gathered together.” All creation is still except for the loud roar of the ocean waves which seem to say, “we are too busy and are not stopping even if this star does not appear on stage today.” It doesn’t take long for the bright orange to slowly peak out from under the sea’s dark morning heavy blanket. It is spectacular with yellow, pink, red soon splattered above our sight. It is too much to comprehend.

I look to find other mentors for the day about waiting. I need not go far. The Monarch butterflies with their sunlight orange, black, and white wings are arriving. They are waking from their night rest and warming in the new sunlight as they wait for the perfect air current to take them on their long flight over the gulf to a valley in Mexico. Are they same ones who came out of their chrysalis on the milkweed plants on our deck in Little Rock? Probably not, but they may be related. I hope to remember their patience, resilience, persistence next spring.

Later in the early morning we sit and wait in church for the early Sunday service to begin. The eight o’clockers are mostly introverts, quietly finding a place near the back of the church. A few brave ones do go up to the first row of pews. We later find out they are reading lessons in the service. There is no music at eight. The procession of the altar party is silent. They are like the sun trying not to make a spectacle, but their silence and sacredness is just as powerful announcing a new day with one more message of love for new eyes to see and new ears to hear.

Waiting is indeed an art, a scared spiritual practice. Like almost everything else, it does take practice to appreciate it, but it always promises manna and a favorable wind just for this day until we are ready to wait again.

Joanna joannaseibert.com

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