It has been such a sad hard week. We have seen the rich and powerful once again take back control and take their revenge on those who briefly shared the sun with them even to a small degree. It is sickening to hear those catch phrases thrown and repeated , as if the ones at the bottom being crushed are so stupid they will believe them. It reminds me of one of the sayings of AA – ‘the only one who believed your lies was yourself’.
Have you ever seen a skilful bully at work? A working life in school playgrounds taught me much about them. The bully is full of arrogance and talk and clever strategies, but gets the henchman to do the nasty stuff. That is the one who needs the ego stroking of being delegated the responsibility to implement the plans, who is bright enough to carry them out, but is in the end the fall guy. I won’t name too many names, but I believe our treasurer was looking quite grey faced and anxious as he experienced the hatred he had brought on himself with such evident glee. In the playground, this one is only powerful in a group – leave him out there on his own to wear the consequences, and he is vulnerable. The Instigator won’t care. He enjoys a fight so that he can feel his own power over others. That is what dictators are like.
Have you noticed other countries where there is a conscious creation and re-creation of a desperate underclass? Well, yes, the word revolution does spring to mind. It might not happen this week, but come it will, if this is not stopped. It doesn’t only happen in third world countries. Try thinking of the USA in the sixties, where city after city erupted in violence and burning. We are not immune.
I was going to write a post about the overwhelming beauty and peace I experienced at the beach last night, as the dark golden moon was rising in amongst soft grey clouds, the warm air was silky and still, and the tide full to the brim. Images of love and plenitude, of something more than I could see, hear, touch or smell, filled me and brought me again to that almost-resting point, where deep speaks to deep, and yearning is both endless and satisfied simultaneously.
This seemed at first to be the place of the fire-bush, but that compassion and endless beauty is only half of the answer.
The other part is the rage.
Sometimes we want to put God (or Goodness if you prefer that language) into the column marked cosy. Grace is not a distraction from the reality of exploitation and cruelty. That indeed would be ‘cheap grace’. Grace invites us to stay in the place of discomfort, where outrage assaults us and we come close to despair, because we don’t know what to do with it.
Saint Augustine knew about anger, and he knew what to do with it. He said that ‘Hope has two lovely daughters: anger and courage’. The hopeful bird sings again when these two are brought together.
Anger is where God is for me now. Courage is the next step – courage wells up like that full tide, driving us to make a difference in the face of the meanness abroad in our land, and it will be powered for me by the grief of the wild God whose children are hurting.