Come On, Get Angry

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by Megan Castellan


My Sweet, Crushed Angel 
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God’s heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
To hear.
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
So what
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.
So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.
The mind and the body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,
But Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits.
Have patience,
For He will not be able to resist your longing
For Long.
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
O my sweet crushed angel.

— Hafiz

How do you believe in God and watch the news at the same time?–the perennial question, and more pressing than ever now that our access to information has grown so instantaneous and so vast.

CS Lewis, St. John of the Cross, any mystic worth their salt, speaks of the spiritual life as having peaks and valleys.  Periods where you travel through a desert, then you find an oasis again.

One day you are bathed in the immediate, felt, certainty of God’s goodness and presence.  Everything around you sings divine praise; everything that happens is clearly working together for the glory of those that love God. The next day, your certainty has evaporated–humanity hardly seems worth it, and everywhere are signs of our imminent destruction.

In a tradition that mandates we read about Thomas each year, and that has preserved the story of Judas for so long, I find it curious that we don’t discuss more openly how to navigate these desert places in our spiritual lives.  Why don’t we admit that they are there? Why is our recourse so often to try to force faith through an act of will?  Denial never produces faith–it just produces ulcers and some creepy smiles.

Thomas, on the other hand, hearkens back to another famously frustrated person in the scriptures: Job.  In the stories of both Thomas and Job, neither one resorted to denial to remedy their frustrations with God.  Job vented his anger to God for 40+ chapters (occasionally in some pretty blasphemous terms).  Thomas folded his arms, stamped his foot, and got snarky with the other disciples about THEIR faith.

Yet, in both cases, God shows up.  God shows up, talks to Job and responds to him, affirming his right to argue with the Divine.  The risen Christ shows up especially for Thomas, so Thomas can believe like the other disciples do.

Having a mature relationship with God demands that we not just praise God when we’re full of faith, but that we argue, and we talk back to God when we aren’t.  God is big.  God can take it.  And God will show up.

Are you in a desert place?  Write a letter to God of the things that have been bothering you.

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