devozine

For Youth Workers Post

So Angry

Steven Lefebvre

 “In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for January 13–19, 2014.

MAKING THE CONNECTION 

       (See video)

 

MEET THE WRITER

devozine Steven LefebvreMy name is Steven Lefebvre. I work with the youth and young adults at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Before my life of working at a church, I was the lead vocalist in a hardcore band. These days, I spend my free time being an armchair film critic, reading comic books, and playing much quieter music (well, sort of). I’m also an amateur champion of darts and dodge ball. I’m a fan of going to baseball games in the summer and to college basketball games in the winter. Professionally, I have an interest in monasticism, biblical studies, and pastoral care. You can read my blog at www.stpaulsyouthgroup.com.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

 

PLUGGED IN

 

CHECKING IN

Write at the top of the white board the word anger. Draw a line down the middle of the white board. Write on the left side of the white board: “What’s bad about anger?” Invite group members to brainstorm to come up with answers to the question. List their responses. Then write on the other side of the white board: “What’s good about anger?” List the group’s responses.

Here are some questions to use as the group brainstorms:
       Can we help getting angry?
       What causes anger?
       What might our anger be telling us?
       What are we supposed to do with our anger?
       How do you feel when someone is angry with you?
       Why might someone be angry with you?

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Mark 3:1–6

Anger is typically seen as a negative emotion. When I was younger, I thought that being angry was wrong. But when I think about it now, I wonder if I can help getting angry? Sure, after the moment has passed, I can explain away my anger; I can stuff it down or process it or understand it. But that initial feeling of rage cannot be controlled. Maybe it’s part of who we were created to be.

The reason we get angry is that we sense injustice, whether on a global scale (we get angry about financial inequality or pollution) or on a personal level (we get angry when we don’t get what we think we deserve). According to Chip Dodd’s book The Voices of the Heart, anger can lead us in one of two directions:
   •  We can be consumed by our anger and become depressed, perfectionistic, or bitter.
   •  We can listen to our anger and allow it to tell us about what’s wrong.
When we see circumstances that could be better, we get angry. Anger dares us to hope for something better. We are angry because we sense an injustice.

Sometimes our sense of injustice is selfish or misguided; and when we respond without first listening or thinking, we act in ways we regret. However, when we truly listen to our anger, meditate on it, and even pray with it, we find what needs to change; and if we have the power, we can change it.

This is what happens to Jesus in Mark 3:1–6. A man needs healing. The Pharisees are so caught up in making Jesus look bad that the man’s suffering is ignored. Jesus sees the situation and gets angry. What does he do about it? He pauses, and then he uses his anger to heal the man.

Invite discussion:
       What do you do with your anger?
       What have you done with your anger in the past?
       When have you been angry recently? What was it about? Why did you feel a sense of injustice?

 

SHARING IN PRAYER

Invite the group to pray for justice, using this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:

“Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.”

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

Invite group members to think about something in the world—a situation much larger than their own personal situations—that makes them angry. Invite them to consider how their anger might give them the power to do something about the situation.

—from devozine In the Habit (January/February 2014). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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