God with us in the chaos. Is this a question or a statement of fact? It is the title of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educator conference I just returned from. What is chaos? The dictionary calls iy a state of complete disorder and confusion. A total lack of organization and order. Some might call the most recent presidential election chaos. Most wake up to chaos every day. So what did I discover about chaos at my conference?
First, we have to deal with what is. We serve a God who brings life out of death, out of chaos. We don’t need to preserve that which once was good. The first century church no longer exists. The 1950’s are over. The only constant is this: the church has been and continues to be a bunch of sinners. If you’re looking for the perfect church don’t join it. You’d just mess it up.
Second, what is our definition of success? Great question. People are showing up. We are keeping our bills paid. Everyone is happy. For most of us this feels like success. There are three things that the church does that no one else does. We preach the gospel of good news. God loves each and every one of us. We celebrate this good news in our sacraments. In the Lord’s Supper we celebrate a new relationship with God and each other. In baptism we celebrate that we belong to God and each other. And we have the audacity to proclaim forgiveness of sins. There is nothing you can do that will separate you from the Love of God. In Jesus Christ God has changed everything. As long as we do these three things we engage the chaos. As long as we do the things no else does we are a success.
Third, God chose to enter the finitude, the chaos that we fear. Life is messy. Jesus knows this. And it’s interesting that before he saved sinners he hung out with sinners. Jesus’ detractors called him a “friend of sinners”. A derogatory remark for them. A label Jesus warmly embraced. Why did Jesus do this? Simple. He knows that loved people love people. That forgiven people forgive people. That grateful people are generous people. And that generous people are joyful people.
Chaos – disorder, confusion, disorganization, and disorder – is why we need the gospel. The gospel of Jesus, the good news of God’s Son entering our world, dispels the chaos. Why? Because it enables me to see differently. Because Jesus came I can see the world differently, I can see myself differently, and I can see others differently.
The world is chaotic. God is not. And if God is with me in chaos it’s going to be okay.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Avri's youth group video from this past year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfjPEPIpeBY&feature=youtube_gdata_player&app=desktop