Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Seeing God in the Chaos

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“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

Now you might be wondering what this passage has to do with what we have experienced this past week. The text says that the earth was without form. The Hebrew word for without form means chaos. In the beginning there was chaos. I don’t know of any better word to describe the events of last week. It was chaos. We endured a historical storm that dropped more than 30 inches of rain on us in just a few days. We saw the Colorado rise to nearly 55 feet, the third largest flood on record in this area. We saw devastation. People lost their cars, homes, belongings, and more. We saw people not knowing what to do. There were people crying and people in shock. Many of us who came to volunteer had no clue what to do in a disaster situation. We just did what we could and tried to go where we were needed. It was chaos. Chaos in the form of a storm. Chaos in the form of a flood. Chaos in the form of people in crisis.

In the beginning there was a watery chaos and that is exactly what we have witnessed. We saw a watery chaos cover Fayette County, but that’s not the end of the story. In Genesis 1:1-2, we are told there was a dark watery chaos in the beginning, but then the Spirit of God began to hover over it. The Greek word for order is cosmos. Out of chaos God brought order. I’m not sure we have seen order yet, but what we have seen is the Spirit of God working among the chaos. We have seen beauty in the midst of destruction. We have been ravaged by the storm, but it has brought us closer together and made us stronger. God is working in this mess.

We have been the body of the Christ. We have been the hands and feet of Jesus. We have fed the hungry. We have helped the needy. We have gone out into the community and done what is needed. The church is not a building. The church is people. Last week, the people of La Grange saw the church and it’s not because they stopped by this building, although many did. It is because they saw us here and in other places doing the work of Jesus.

I saw lots of amazing things last week. I saw people drop what they were doing to help others in need. I saw people sacrifice time, energy, and money. I saw countless selfless acts. People were not thinking of themselves. They were only thinking about others. We never ran short on man power. There were always plenty of volunteers. We started collecting items on Monday. By Tuesday, our building was completely full. There were donated items in every pew. On Wednesday evening the building was empty and by Thursday afternoon it was full again. I know God was working in the chaos because we always had what we needed. He did not allow this building to set vacant.

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One of the most amazing things I saw this week was a father and daughter who were folding clothes on our communion tables. We ran out of room. We kept filling up pews. We ran out of tables to work on. Finally, we were backed all the way up to the pulpit, and so this father and daughter did what they could. They used our communion tables to sort and fold clothes for people in need. It reminded me of a passage in Luke where two people encountered Jesus at a table.

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. Jesus acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:28-31)

Jesus used tables throughout his ministry. He used them to minister to people. A table is more than just a place to eat. It is a place to connect and serve. Our communion tables did not sit idle last week. They were used to serve this community. These tables where the fruit of the vine and unleavened bread now sit were used for the ministry of Jesus. The clothes that were folded on these tables are now being worn by someone who lost everything.

When we come to the table, we are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus. We are reminded of what he did for us and who we are called to be. How does someone follow in the footsteps of Jesus? How do we live a sacrificial life? We do so by living a life of service, by giving ourselves to others. We do it by giving our time and energy to people who need us. Because of the events of last week, the people who need us has grown exponentially. We now have hundreds of people without homes in La Grange. We have people in our community who have lost everything. They are depending on us to be the body of Christ.

Today is a day of rest, but tomorrow we will begin the work again. We will go out into the community and we will meet the needs of the people we meet. As we enjoy the break from our labors, remember there is someone who needs us. As we partake of this meal, let us focus on Jesus. Let us remember his ministry and how he continuously helped others. Let us remember how he gave himself fully and completely. He did not hold anything back. He laid down his life in order to bless us. The table prepares us for our mission because it is at the table that we encounter the risen Lord.

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