Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Let not the sun set on anger

So, I got that letter written to folks to share news of Pastor Schmeling's upcoming trial. I sent this on Monday. If you're not on the list and want to be, please sign up.

Then I created a website page with media reporting of the charges against Bradley Schmeling. Take a look if you care to, but especially the blog entries that I've linked to from the FREE REPUBLIC website. These vitriolic remarks make clear the polarization that exists on LGBT equality.

I was thinking of sending these remarks out to our list. Then I thought of the language I hear used against George Bush by my progressive friends, and then... this morning... I found a sermon excerpt from Pastor Bradley Schmeling's worship this past Sunday.

You might find it worth a read. I find it a reminder that we're all in this together, no matter how far apart we are in our views.

At service this Sunday, following the filing of formal charges against him for being in a committed, same-gender relationship Tuesday past, Pr Bradley Schmeling, St John's Lutheran, Atlanta, Georgia, preached on the text of the day, Ephesians 4:25–5:2:

"So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Bradley said that, as "a strategy for living these days, I could not have asked for better words to be provided. …God gave us anger so that we would contain a force at the very core of our being, a powerful voice that says 'no' to being hurt. Anger doesn't accept violence or pain or threat as a condition for [our] existence. It tells us that something is broken that needs to be fixed."
He reflected on the uses of anger in our lives within a Christian setting, acknowledging that anger is at the same time the most difficult emotion to experience and to express. "Anger gives birth to acts of justice because we don't get mad at just the things that happen to us. We get mad at things that happen to others. It is the source of solidarity with the world's pain and suffering," he said. When anger combines with Christ, it is transformed: it heals wounds and creates new things - anger and a tender heart going together in the light of Christ.

In another context, addressing his congregation, Bradley has said, "I pray that this situation can be a source of creativity and life, even if marked by some struggle and conflict. I trust that the conversations we have and the decisions we make will help us in our journey to be faithful to Jesus. I trust that God is with us, and that God will provide no matter what the outcome. Even though these conversations may be heavy and may produce anxiety and fear, they will not keep us from the good and abundant life God has for us. We can continue the journey in joy and with the good humor we've always had together."

copied from Lutherans Concerned North America (

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