Each and everyone one of us coils within if God is seen as angry, or worse yet, revengeful. We don’t want to think of God in these terms because it is so comforting to experience God as loving and always forgiving. Yes, God IS loving and forgiving, but God has other “sides” that aren’t quite so comforting.
In the book of Genesis, God is very angry and very revengeful at how deeply sinful humanity had become, beginning with Adam and Eve. God wanted to simply vanquish everything He created but has a massive, earth shattering, or better, earth “drowning” change of Divine heart: Noah and his wives became the “remnant” of salvation for the whole human race. A second chance, a new creation, with sin being destroyed, “drowned” out of existence was God’s way of letting the anger die with the deluge of water.
Each one of us is like Noah and his wives and all the animals and vegetation brought within the Ark. we are the “remnant” of a new humanity slowly being recreated through the deluge of baptism. Those waters are anything but calm, since through them and in them we are IMMERSED into the death of Christ, only to rise forth from them with a purpose and mission to transform the world. We do this daily in our relationships, careers, vocations, communities, worship, prayer, plans, dreams, gifts, and sabbath rest.
I believe God has an angry side which makes me a bit uneasy, but I experience this “side” as necessary so that I don’t think I can control God or assume I know how God should react. God’s anger at me is NOT, however, vengeful, for vengeance is rooted in retaliation, unthinkable for a loving God. A loving God can certainly become angry at me when I refuse to follow his ways, when I surrender to self absorption, when I become self righteous, when I am addicted to anything, when I become lukewarm in the gift of faith. But his anger is meant to awaken me to new life, to allow the waters of baptism to drown the sin in my life so that I can “rise” to God’s creative life.
Lent is the season to experience that we all, all of us, all of humanity, are somehow contained in the “ark” of God’s love, our God who at times gets angry at us because we can be so stubborn. Let the journey of Lent begin tomorrow with Noah as our guide.