“I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not; and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.” [Monty Python]
“You can’t rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles.” [The Princess Bride]
Wars. Rumors of wars. Tornadoes. Earthquake. Failing economies. Greed. Selfishness. Politicians. Apostasy. Narcicissm. Vanity. Pride. Pedophilia. Infighting. Uganda. Divorce. Cancer. Gang violence. Japan. Global climate change. Football (apparently). Communism. Capitalism. Sweatshops. Murder. Haiti. Factory pollution. Tsunamis. Rape. Plagues. Hunger. Adultery. Thirst. Kony. Sudan. Juarez. Rights. Greece. Apathy. Jihad. Empire. Injustice. Starving children. Sex slaves. Post-Christianity. Poverty.
There are a lot of things to feel angry about.
Lots of things.
But I’m really tired of feeling angry.
It seems so cliche to say “cast all your cares on him” or “be anxious for nothing” or “be not afraid” … surely God is more realistic than that; right? I’ve been so good at getting angry for all the right causes, but it’s starting to seem like getting angry just isn’t enough. And frankly, it’s exhausting to be angry all the time. And it doesn’t seem to do much, other than stress me out.
What does seem to help is that “there is nothing new under the sun.” All of this has happened before, and very likely all of this will happen again. And so I am not alone. I can’t be; it’s not the first time this has been an issue.
And whats more, scripture says that God is also angry about it; this stuff keeps him up at night. But unlike me, he’s already figured out a way to take this stuff on; an end, even if it’s distant, is coming to the suffering. And I am to play a role in that reconciliation, that recreation of all things.
Because we matter to God. He hasn’t forgotten us; it’s just that recreating the world takes time. And pain. And effort.
Worship artists get to do more than simply try to make people feel better on a Sunday morning. We sing songs of lament to help people work through the same feelings of anger, betrayal, guilt, and loneliness that we struggle with. We sing songs of justice, of the unfolding story of grace and mercy and redemption that is underway. And we sing songs of praise to help form people to be a part of that story, equipping them with the language to deal with that internal struggle and spurring them on to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. In our painting, in our singing, in our photography, in our dance, in our art, we can tell the story of how things HAVE become and then how things CAN become.
If we pay attention to what God is doing.
So if I am to be a part of this, I need to pay attention. I can’t let my anger get the best of me, because One who created the heavens is already remaking earth.
It’s just going to take some time.
How do you and/or your church engage justice with your worship and arts ministries?