On Grief and Table Flipping

I woke up early this morning thinking about a number of things. First I thought about grief and how sometimes it doesn’t come out as tears but, instead, will display itself as anger and frustration.  

Over the last couple of years, I’ve encountered a lot of grieving Christians. I know because I’m grieving too. And, so often there are times, I want to shout instead of cry. I want to raise my hand and question the disconnect that’s led to this grief. But there’s a problem, speaking up or questioning is not safe, it’s risky. You risk being seen as divisive. You risk being misunderstood. You risk being given a label: a disturber of peace, a boat rocker.  

Yet, this morning, another word came to mind…the one Jesus was given: table flipper. Any time Jesus spoke truth to power, spoke up about greed/corruption, called leaders out when there was a disconnect between what they said they believed and how they were actually living or how they were actually treating other people, his own grief would often come out as anger.

His table flipping anger startled onlookers and made them uncomfortable.The Prince of Peace, the God of love and forgiveness, mercy and grace… flipped tables too. I don’t think we should forget this. I don’t want to forget this. 

From Jesus we can learn that table flipping is sometimes necessary. From Jesus we can learn that maybe acts that at first glance look divisive are, in reality, acts of love stemming from a place of deep grief for the way things are. 

I’ve had conversations with other people over these last few years also grieving over the lack of table flipping. It’s rattled their faith. I’ve seen seekers, quiet observers, watching…watching to see how the Church would respond, expecting that, surely, they will flip a table or two, surely, they will speak truth to power, surely they will call out the disconnect.  But, instead, more often than not, they’ve witnessed deafening silence or worse, they’ve watched in horror the Church climb in bed with power.

Sometimes I wonder if his Church (with a big C) will one day look back on this time period and wish they had taken more of a stand, wish they had risked looking divisive, and flipped a few more tables?

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