Footsteps to Follow: Finding order in chaos
Times like these in human history, when fear pervades and even the coolest and calmest of heads around us seem to not be so cool or calm anymore, we sense our vulnerability.
This is not just from this invisible virus but the fallout from it: financial, personal, religious, health; the list goes on. You know this. We are all living this.
Every day my head spins. My mind races. I feel that I am free falling in a whirlwind of information, misinformation, fear, anger, and anxiety.
So what do we do when we seem to be staring into a void of nothingness or chaos?
Well, we remember that this is not the first time God has brought order from chaos. In the beginning, God moved over the formless, empty darkness, ordered life, and called it good. (Genesis 1). You see that was just the beginning, for God then saved the people from deadly pestilence, locusts, frogs, water turned to blood, boils, lice, flies, darkness (again), and even death. (Exodus 7-12). As if that was not enough, then God led his people through the waters and the desert. (Exodus 14ff).
God made a way when nothing seemed to be possible. God led them to what was promised: abundant life.
God continued sending messages of order through sages and prophets and angels. They are messengers telling the people they need not fear, for love is stronger than hate, and hope is stronger than despair.
And because those messengers were not enough to keep people from falling into chaos, not enough to give the people hope, God became one of us. Jesus knew what it is like to fear and cry and shout and feel abandoned, to suffer, and in a world blanketed by darkness, to die. It is through this hope, this perfect and final act of love, that fear and chaos are once and for all vanquished.
We are invited into this ordered life.
But still, what do we do? We are to be the church. We should remember that God orders the chaos and invites us to be the ever-faithful, ever-present, ever-serving, ever-loving, ever-praying church.
So, first we pray without ceasing for people affected by this virus, for those who have died, and for those who live in fear. Pray that we will be an example of the hope that creation is not broken but good and ordered.
Second, we should be the church who has remained and survived through the lions’ den, violent kings, queens, and emperors, and wars and all manner of plagues and epidemics. The church met in small houses under secret symbols and then went out into the world to do the work they had been given to do.
The church has always helped revitalize life because the church is the people of God offering shelter to the homeless, identity as children of God to strangers, healing balm to the sick and afraid, and cries for peace amid violent turmoil.
When the world is afraid, the church, the people of God, must be strong because we remember in whom we gain our strength. It is from the One who has ordered the chaos from the beginning. Let the church say, “Amen.”
The Rev. Kyle Murphy, rector for Christ Episcopal Church, Williamsport.