Waters of Chaos
(Posted August 20, 2020)
The pattern of today’s date is certainly not lost on me – 20/2020. Many of us have already said that they would gladly write this whole year off, as if it never existed, for all the chaos that’s been embedded in it. But I’d like to suggest that perhaps we need to harvest the lessons this year has brought, instead of ignoring what 2020 is saying to us.
Over the last few weeks I’ve observed that, even among my clergy colleagues, the root of people’s fatigue has been not just the dislocation from regular routines. We are instead overwhelmed by the feeling that, no matter how much we try to do the right thing, to be positive, to look toward the future, the negative forces of chaos are winning more and more each day. One clergy colleague in the last few days has questioned if his life that’s been dedicated toward spreading peace and balance was lived in vain. Of course our lives lived in faith are not in vain!
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The problem is that the learning curve where we finally discern what is accomplished in faith often takes a long time to come around. Virtually every story in the Bible starts with taking a chance without knowing the consequences, and then finally seeing God’s hand in it at last. Over and over again water is often the metaphor for chaos. We see it first in the story of Noah and the Ark, where reveling, self-absorbed humanity doesn’t see their sinfulness, and “misses the boat” when the floods come. Noah himself must set sail on angry seas not knowing where he’s going.
Another water story comes when Pharaoh decides to kill all male babies of enslaved Jews. One little Jewish baby was taken by his mother and placed in a reed basket in the Nile. She launched him not knowing how or if he would survive. Of course he not only floated to safety, but is drawn out of the water by none other than an Egyptian princess, who then calls on a Jewish slave woman to raise him as a royal child. That slave woman turns out to be his mother. His name of course, is Moses, part of God’s plan.
These days I think we’ve been confronted with our own waters of chaos. I prefer to use the metaphor of surfing. The only way we can gather the power to surf is if we first paddle out through some powerful waves. Each wave fights us but teaches us something more about the terrain and the currents. When we’ve made it past the breakers, we can then turn and stand and ride the waves, knowing the power of achievement.
Right now we need to learn from the breakers. Right now we need to do more than tread water. We need as Carl Jung pointed out, to DO… “"You are what you do, not what you say you'll do." Come join us this Sunday as we explore who it is that God says WE are. – Pastor Pat Kriss