Readings for the 4th Sunday in Lent

Luke 15:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Isaiah 12:1-6

Anger is infectious. Is it making you sick?

After a lively and (yes) enjoyable discussion on the topic of anger at last Sunday’s Bible, I find myself still thinking about it today. Someone pointed out that anger has a way of spreading from person to person. It’s contagious. We also talked about the current culture of outrage today – how everyone seems to be upset all the time about something. It’s almost fashionable to be angry! And the political debates of an election year are only adding fuel to the fire. In light of all that, I was particularly struck by the noticeable absence of anger in this Sunday’s readings.

     Jesus tells us about a shepherd who has a sheep that wanders away from the fold. Does the shepherd stomp up and down and call the sheep names? Does he say, “Serves that dumb sheep right!” and leave it for dead? No, this gentle Shepherd calmly and steadfastly pursues the lost sheep until it is returned to the fold. What does this tell us about God? (Luke 15)

     In the epistle lesson, the apostle Paul calls us “new creations” who have been reconciled to our Father by our Savior, Jesus. Paul also says we have become Christ’s ambassadors, a voice of appeal to those who do not know him. An appeal is like an invitation. It’s gracious in tone and inspired by love. What does this tell us about our attitude toward those outside the Church? (2 Cor.5)

     The prophet Isaiah can hardly contain himself. The whole tone of his prophecy is one of celebration. He calls the people of God to make a joyful witness of what He has done. “Sing, shout, and make it known!” What does this tell us about our general attitude about life? (Is. 12)

My point is not that Christians need to “put on a happy face”. Real joy comes from spending time with Christ and growing in our appreciation of what His love and patience have done for us. God is love.     God is the cure for our sickness of anger.