Room for Rage
Herod sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” – Matthew 2:16-18 (NRSV)
If you had a beautiful, Rockwell-esque Christmas holiday – and I hope you did, in whatever ways are most meaningful to you – remember that even in the midst of such beauty: there is still rage and grief and wailing within your spirit that needs to be noticed.
If you’re feeling good about the tide of your preferred political platform, if you’re full of confidence in the direction of the economy and the government, remember that even in the strongest bull market: there is still rage and loud lamentation and inconsolable pain in the world that needs to be addressed.
If you are eager to throw your 2021 calendar in the trash, and you have all of your incense and candles and rituals prepared to sweep out 2021 and bless 2022, remember that even when the year is new: there is still rage and death and dreadful absence that haunts our collective spirit and needs to be healed.
Make room for the rage.
Welcome it like a weary traveler who can’t find a room in the inn.
Give it space where it can cry and groan.
Light a candle if it labors through the night.
Do not be quick to console it, only keep it company to be sure it doesn’t harm others.
Make room for rage.
Amplify its voice.
Do not be embarrassed if it echoes through the streets; they are missing something that it offers.
Let it be messy and imperfect.
Let it teach you something.
Let it convict your heart of love and justice.
Make room for rage.
On the verge of something new, a storm of rage brews for all that has been, for all that could have been, for all that will be because of what was. Here is my rage, here is our rage, here is my siblings’ rage: loud and inconsolable. May it be a blessing.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and the co-author of Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.