Service of Righteous Anger

Updated: Jul 16, 2019



Service of Righteous Anger

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Saturday, July 13, 2019 3 PM


If you have any questions about the service or about Grace, you contact Pastor Megan Rohrer at pastor@gracesf.com.



Below is the archived video of a service held at Grace Lutheran, San Francisco and a bulletin that you are welcome to adapt and use in your context. If you use it, add a comment to let us know. It will keep us motivated to continue creating justice centered worship opportunities like this one.


The First Cycle: Naming Our Anger



Welcome and Intention Setting Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer


“Righteous indignation is typically a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.”

– from the communal knowledge of Wikipedia


In this space, we honor bodies of all sizes, shapes and abilities. You are encouraged to care for your body by wiggling, moving, sharing your boundaries and going to the bathroom when needed. Downstairs (out the doors at the front of the sanctuary) we have two bathrooms. There are two single-stall gender neutral bathrooms downstairs. Please take a moment to become fully present in this sacred space. Settle your hearts and minds as much as you are able.


Participants breathe and center.

A singing bowl is sounded three times.

Angry Candle Lighting



First, we light candles for the anger at the surface. The things that are easy to admit.

Next, we light candles for the anger just below the surface.

Then, we light candles for the anger that is deep with within us.



Prayer:[1]

God of retributive justice,

I am so mad I could spit.

There are vile people in this world doing vile things.

You promised justice, but you are too slow.

Eventually, when the time is right

I will transform my anger into action

that helps the world become a better place.

But not today.

Today, I am angry.

And will continue to be angry until I can get it all out.

Thank you for loving me through my anger

and for waiting to see me through

to the other side of this emotion.

Free me of

my guilt,

my guile

and anything else that is clogging my heart.

But not today.

Today, I am angry.

And will continue to be angry until I can get it all out.

Amen.


The Second Cycle: Remembering Anger and Love Can Live Together


An excerpt from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s July 4, 1965 Speech at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA.[2]


And I would like to say to you this morning what I’ve tried to say all over this nation, what I believe firmly: that in seeking to make the dream a reality we must use and adopt a proper method. I’m more convinced than ever before that nonviolence is the way. I’m more convinced than ever before that violence is impractical as well as immoral. If we are to build right here a better America, we have a method (Yes, sir) as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. We need not hate; we need not use violence. We can stand up before our most violent opponent and say: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. (Make it plain) Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, and so throw us in jail. (Make it plain) We will go in those jails and transform them from dungeons of shame to havens of freedom and human dignity. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities after midnight hours and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half-dead, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. (Amen) Somehow go around the country and use your propaganda agents to make it appear that we are not fit culturally, morally, or otherwise for integration, and we will still love you. (Yes) Threaten our children and bomb our homes, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. (Yeah)


But be assured that we will ride you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we will win our freedom, but we will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process." And our victory will be a double victory.

Oh yes, love is the way. (Yes) Love is the only absolute. More and more I see this. I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. (You bet, Yes) I’ve seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South—I’ve seen hate. In the faces and even the walk of too many Klansmen of the South, I’ve seen hate. Hate distorts the personality. Hate does something to the soul that causes one to lose his objectivity. The man who hates can’t think straight; (Amen) the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right. (Yeah) And I know now that Jesus is right, (Yeah) that love is the way. And this is why John said, "God is love," (Yes, sir) so that he who hates does not know God, but he who loves (get in the door) at that moment has the key that opens the door (Yeah) to the meaning of ultimate reality. So this morning there is so much that we have to offer to the world. (Yes, sir).


Participants breathe and center.

A singing bowl is sounded three times.



Prayers for the People and Glitter Ash: Sister Merry Peter

A ritual declaring that we are a beautiful mess of fabulous, sorrow, hope, wonder, fear and glitter.



The Third Cycle: Satyagraha



“Anger is like electricity: it is just as powerful and just as useful, but only if you use it intelligently.” - Ghandi


Those who feel comfortable participate in an activity about soulforce, called the two hands of non-violence


Participants breathe and center.

A singing bowl is sounded three times.



A Litany of “No”: We say “no” to injustice we refuse to participate in, to abuse and stuff that is not good for us.


A Litany of “Yes”: We say “yes” to things we commit to, choose to enjoy and work towards.

Dreams and Nightmares: A Prayer by Walter Brueggemannn[3]

Last night as I lay sleeping,

I had a dream so fair…

I dreamed of the Holy City, well ordered and just.

I dreamed of a garden of paradise,

well-being all around and a good water supply.

I dreamed of disarmament and forgiveness,

And caring embrace for all those in need.

I dreamed of a coming time when death is no more.


Last night as I lay sleeping…

I had a nightmare of signs unforgiven.

I had a nightmare of land mines still exploding

and maimed children.

I had a nightmare of the poor left unloved,

of the homeless left unnoticed,

of the dead left ungrieved.

I had a nightmare of quarrels and rages

and wars great and small.


When I awoke, I found you still to be God,

presiding over day and the night

with the serene sovereignty,

for dark and light are both alike to you.

At the break of day we submit to you

our best dreams

and our worst nightmares,

asking that your healing mercy should override threats,

that your goodness will make our

nightmares less toxic

and our dreams more real.

Sending Song
To the tune of Just Dance
Intro:
    Am      C       G     Dm
Am         C              G     Dm
This is the end of our worship (oh oh oh, oh)
Am         C               G              Dm
And soon we will all start to rush, start to rush babe
Am          C                G             Dm
Going to a club or to your home (home, home, home)
Am           C               G      Dm
Where are my keys, don’t forget your phone, phone
Bridge:
F                           G                           Am
But, before you head out the door
Remember that God loves you and won’t keep score
F                                    Am
So go love your neighbor and serve the poor
You are blessed by Christ forever more
Chorus:
     Am           C       G         Dm
Go in peace, be safe   da  doo doo doo
     Am               C          G         Dm
Go in peace, don’t forget to pray   da doo doo doo
     Am           C       G         Dm
Go in peace, come back next Sunday   duh duh duh duh
Am     C      G         Dm
peace, peace, peace, go in peace

Dismissal

May the anger that clings to you, keep you safe and ever working towards justice. Go in peace. Share the good news.

Thanks be to G*d.

Fellowship and Peace

Participants are invited to spend time together after the service sharing food, wisdom and support.

[1] Prayer for Angry People, from Megan Rohrer’s Prayer’s From Iceland: Light Dawns in a Weary World.


[2] https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/american-dream-sermon-delivered-ebenezer-baptist-church


[3] From Prayers for Privileged People, 79-80.

©2019 by the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer