Dear Hyde Park Family,
Like many of you, I was heavily influenced at a young age by Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a television show experiencing renewed nostalgia thanks to the recent documentary about Fred Rogers’ life. (My favorite film of 2018 so far.) One of my favorite songs that he wrote and sang was, “Mad That You Feel,” which was about anger:
What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?
It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.
Mr. Rogers reminded us that feeling angry, in and of itself, is not wrong. It’s what we do with that anger that requires our careful discernment. 2,000 years earlier, Paul would say essentially the same thing to the Ephesians: “Be angry, but do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26) We will explore this text, and the subject of anger, this Sunday as the next part of our worship series on Ephesians.
To prepare for worship, I invite you to read the following words of wisdom from our spiritual ancestors found by Debbie Casanzio, who is preaching in the Chapel. Each of these quotes offers guidance on how to channel our anger in healthy ways. Read through them and see how they resonate with you and your relationship with anger:
• When we have to reply to anyone who has insulted us, we should be careful to do it always with gentleness. A soft answer extinguishes the fire of wrath. – St. Alphonsus Liguori
• Imagine your anger to be a kind of wild beast, because it has ferocious teeth and claws, and if you don’t tame it, it will devastate all things even corrupting the soul. – St. John Chrysostom
• Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause. – St. John of Kanty
• Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. – St. Frances de Sales
• When we have to reply to some one who speaks harshly to us, we must always do it with gentleness. If we are angry, it is better to keep silence. – St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
• It avails nothing to subdue the body, if the mind allows itself to be controlled by anger. – Pope St. Gregory the Great
• If you judge people, you have no time to love them. – Mother Teresa
Join us this Sunday as we explore the gifts and risks of our own experiences with anger. We’ll learn practical techniques to identify and resolve the triggers that anger us, and learn to express those feelings in healthy ways.
See You Sunday!
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist