In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
On one of my first pastoral calls I went to visit a parishioner in a nursing home. At one end of a community room I had to pass through to get to the elevator the volume was turned all the way up on a television no one was watching. At the other end an Aide was leading a game of Bingo while one resident was calling out for help and another was yelling at him to be quiet.
While I made a b-line to get out of there someone call out “Reverend!” Forced to stop and turn around, I made eye contact with the woman in a wheelchair who had called me and went over to her. She asked if I would pray with her. I grabbed a chair, sat down, took her hands and closed my eyes. I hadn’t gotten good at spontaneous prayer yet so in the noisy cacophony the only thing I could muster was the “Our Father”. The lady started reciting it too and the weirdest thing happened. By the time we got to “Give us this day our daily bread” an ease had come over us. Just like Moses’ staff made the Red Sea give way for the people of Israel, praying the Lord’s Prayer made the chaos in that room recede.
In his commentary on Genesis Walter Brueggemann corrects the notion that God creates something out of nothing in the first chapter of the Bible. Instead, God’s first act in our sacred story is to create order out of chaos. Before God sorted the night from the day, the land from the seas, the flocks of birds from the schools of fish, “the earth was a formless void”. Millennia’s of theologians have pointed to evidence of a Divine hand at work in the veins of a leaf, the phases of the moon and in how human beings are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (psalm 139:14).
God is found first in beauty and order.
By gathering for worship we step out of the chaos in the news, our professional and personal lives to glorify God by doing what creatures made in the image of God do in their best, collective moments. We create beauty and order together. Every Praise Song is a “thank you”, each passage from scripture points towards mindfulness and awe, all worthy prayers are confirmation that we are bound to one another and the Creator and at communion we remember who we are whose we are.
Sunday morning at church isn’t a private matter between you and God. It’s a way we participate in making the world the right- the way it is meant to and ultimately will be. Church is a foretaste of God’s Kingdom come.
You don’t have to get lost in the chaos of your life. Follow bread crumbs of that longing for wholeness to church. You can find it by joining a stranger in prayer and you can create it for somebody else with your loving embrace at the Peace.
Do what you were made for.
See you Sunday,