Day One – Sacred Nicknames

Today’s Scripture: Luke 9:51-56; Mark 3:17

Have you noticed how much anger there is in the world today? Outbursts from flight attendants and passengers—increased road rage—rudeness to and from customer service employees—workplace violence—domestic violence—political debates—election results–verbal attacks within the safety of Facebook and other social media. Even lyrics to songs show an underlying stream of hidden anger that’s ready to burst out of the ground and pollute our ears with crud.

Sometimes we vocalize our anger by using bad language or yelling. In the Solomon Islands in the south Pacific some villagers practice a unique form of logging. If a tree is too large to be felled with an ax, the natives cut it down by yelling at it. Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree just at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs. They continue this for thirty days. The tree eventually dies and falls over. The theory is that the hollering kills the spirit of the tree. According to the villagers, it always works.

Before we criticize the Solomon Island villagers for their yelling routine, what about us? We yell at our car when it won’t start, at the TV when our team is losing, and at our children when they’re getting on our nerves. We yell at traffic, umpires, and vending machines. Machines and things don’t respond because they have no life. But yelling at humans can kill the spirit, can’t it? The Solomon Islanders may have a point.

Jesus was very discerning. When Jesus first called the disciples, he dubbed James and John “Sons of Thunder.” Considering what we read about these brothers, it’s safe to assume they earned their nicknames because of their aggressive personalities and quick tempers.

Let’s spend time this week exploring anger—the good, the bad, and the ugly. James and John will be our springboards. Enjoy the quest!

  • If the Lord gave you a nickname based on your personality, what would it be?