Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In the Chaos That is Life

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  Ephesians 2:14(NLT)

A professor I studied with at Duke was a “Gen-X’r”[2].  He didn’t give tests, but rather moved the class along with mini-projects, breaking into small groups for interaction; he builds a sense of community so the whole class can work on a learning curve together. 

(Not exactly the Little House on the Prairie school marm teaching the three R’s!) 

To a 1940’s-born Baby Boomer it is chaos. 

Give me a book, three quizzes, a mid-term and a final and I’ll get an “A”.  Force me into small groups and I break into a cold sweat.

There has always been a gap between generations.  I’m certain I gave my parents more gray hair than they deserved.  When it was my turn to be the parent, I was the one on the receiving end.  When my son was a pre-teen he would get lazy about cleaning his room (big surprise!).  Elizabeth would drop a hint or two, but never get any results. 

Then, inevitably, one day while our son was at school, the white tornado would visit his room, restoring order and reclaiming a view of the floor surface.  When Jason would come home in the afternoon you could hear it all over the house:  Oh NO!  She trashed my room again! 

One person’s orderliness is another’s chaos!

So what does chaos have to do with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians?  There’s a connection between Paul and Moses.  Listen to the first and second verses of the creation account in Genesis:

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.   Genesis 1:1 - 2(NRSV)

That expression formless void in Hebrew is bo'-hoo, and it means to be empty[3].  Formless, empty and covered in darkness; this is the very essence of chaos.   (That also pretty much describes my room when I was a teen).

Paul uses the word peace a couple of times in his letter to the Ephesian church.  This word is eirēnē, and it means to join (as in knit back together that which was broken apart).  When healthy bones are broken due to an injury, often they knit back together stronger than before the break. 

On the one hand we have chaos – void, empty and dark – a kind of brokenness; on the other hand we have peace – brokenness being healed, knit back together.  This is the kind of peace of which Paul spoke.

Peace and chaos – words and worlds that collide!

For You Today

The conclusion of Advent, our waiting, is only a few days away.  Could it be that God wants to use this time of anticipation to knit something together for you…bring healing and strength to some brokenness?

You chew on that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a joy-filled and blessed day!

[1] Title image:  By Yinan Chen, via Wikimedia Commons
[2] The people born between 1965 and 1976 are referred to as “Generation X”; they are 51 million strong. 
[3] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries© 2003, QuickVerse

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