May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity.
Freedom from anger, and patient endurance. Those are certainly gifts to pray for. Today the church celebrates Polycarp.
On our Lenten sojourn why not take today to offer this prayer of Polycarp. I suspect if you are anything like me, patience may be a challenge. Also, if you’re anything like me, that lack of patience can sometimes lead to anger.
May God indeed build us up in faith, so that patience abounds, and that we are free from any anger.
How do we get there? Well, a few suggestions –
Take time each day to read scripture, read books. Take time each day and solitude. There is so much happening around us each day that causes us to feel frenetic. That freneticism seems to encourage our impatience. Take time each day to dialogue with God. Offer up with great honesty your feelings to the God who knows the in most parts of your hearts.
Take the lead of the Psalmist. There is no feeling, no matter how raw, that the Psalmist will not bring to God. Psalm 56, from today’s daily office lectionary is a good example …
God, have mercy on me because I’m being trampled. All day long the enemy oppresses me. My attackers trample me all day long because I have so many enemies.
Exalted one, whenever I’m afraid, I put my trust in you— in God, whose word I praise. I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
What can mere flesh do to me? All day long they frustrate my pursuits; all their thoughts are evil against me. They get together and set an ambush—they are watching my steps, hoping for my death. Don’t rescue them for any reason!
In wrath bring down the people, God! You yourself have kept track of my misery. Put my tears into your bottle— aren’t they on your scroll already? Then my enemies will retreat when I cry out.
I know this because God is mine.
I still remember how powerful it was to hear these words used in worship at Morning Prayer at Huron University College over 20 years ago. I was angry, and I was hurting. To hear those words from Scripture, was a great moment of reassurance for me. Crying out to God about our anger and our pain falls into best practice when it comes to the spiritual life.
So May God ‘build you up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity’