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August 2012

Burnt Anger

Pentecost Proper 14

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: Eph. 4:25-27

Preparation: Bring a clean cooking pot and a large spoon for pretending to stir. Also, if possible, bring along a pot that has a burned crust in the bottom.

I’ve brought something with me this morning. (Show the pot.) Can anyone tell me what this is used for? Do you have any of these in your kitchen? (Let children tell what pots are used for.) We cook food in these pots, don’t we? You might put the ingredients for soup or chili in this pot, set it on the stove, and turn on the heat. After it’s cooked for a while, it’s ready to eat.

If you were going to cook something in this pot, what do you think you would make? Do we have any good cooks with us this morning? (Children can share their ideas. You can use one of their culinary suggestions for the illustration, stirring the pot and pretending to cook as you talk.) Let’s say we make a pot of chili (or other suggestion), and we put it on the stove to cook. It gets really hot and starts to boil. Then we turn down the heat, cover it, and let it simmer. After a couple of hours, we have a delicious pot of chili to eat.

What do you suppose would happen if we put the pot on the stove, turned up the heat, and then let it cook there all night? That would be a very dangerous thing to do, of course. Do you think the food would be any good to eat? It would be all dried up and burned to the bottom of the pot, wouldn’t it? Do you think it’s easy to clean a pot that’s been sitting on the stove all night? It is really hard to get that burned crust out. Sometimes, it’s impossible. You just simply have to throw the pot away. (Here you may illustrate with the burned pot.)

When we get angry, we’re a lot like that pot on the stove. It’s okay to get angry, but is it okay to get so angry we hit someone? No, it’s not. Almost everyone gets angry with someone sometime. But is it all right to stay angry all day and all night and to keep that anger boiling like a pot on a stove? If you let anger simmer for too long, what do you think happens? (Child may offer answer.) If the anger cooks too long, it turns into burned anger and then it’s really hard to get it out of your heart.

The Bible says, “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:26 nlt). So the next time you’re angry with someone and you feel yourself boiling over, what do you think you should do? Should you ask Jesus to give you enough love to forgive the person who has hurt you? (Let children answer.) It’s better to take a pot off the stove before it burns, and it’s better to get the anger out of our hearts before it hurts us and others.

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, help us never to let anger simmer too long. Take the anger out of our hearts and replace it with forgiveness and love.

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