This is a collection of sermons and thoughts about life, faith, Jesus, and the Episcopal Church. Most of this comes out of my work as an Episcopal priest, but some comes from my songwriting and other times of inspiration or wondering.
Whatever you believe, I pray you will be blessed by sharing in these thoughts.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Order Out of Chaos
Sunday of Lent, Year A
April 6, 2014
Bay City, TX
37:1-14 Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11 John 11:1-45
January, I’ve been helping to teach a leadership class called CLAY Leadership
in the elementary and middle schools.
The classes are 30 minutes every two weeks in every class in the schools,
and folks around the community have signed up and trained to lead these
days and bad days – by and large, the student seem to respond pretty well…In
these classes, we get to hear some from the kids’ lives, and some of the things
and situations these kids are facing.
There are discipline problems and kids acting out. Of course there are. You get that sometimes from kids living with
two parents in a stable, loving home.
There are kids living with hardly one parent, very little stability, and
a very little love given. Looking at the
big picture around the schools, at the home life of some of these kids, it
seems sometimes like the world is slipping into chaos.
We’ve had several family members of
parishioners die in the last couple of weeks.
There was another shooting and suicide at Fort Hood. With an awful lot of wonderful things and
good in the world, it sometimes feels like the world is slipping into chaos.
is how the world began. In the beginning
the world was a formless void – there was chaos, and out of this chaos, God
spoke, and the words God spoke created order out of chaos, created something
out of nothing. Light, etc…
2, God fashioned things with his hand to create order and beauty and life. Adam was fashioned by God’s hands out of the
dust of the ground. Places him in the
garden, and for the first time, something isn’t good. The man is alone, and that isn’t good, so God
fashions animals out of the dust of the ground, and finally fashions Eve out of
speaks to create order out of chaos, and it is good. God fashions life out of the dust of the
ground to make life and companionship and beauty.
our gospel lesson last week, Jesus, fashioned new eyes for a blind man out of
the dust of the ground. He made mud with
dirt and saliva, spread it on the man’s eyes, and the man could see. Jesus fashioned the world with his hands just
as God did in creation.
our Gospel lesson today, when Lazarus died, Jesus spoke, and it came to
be. “Lazarus, come out,” Jesus said, and
Lazarus, though dead until Jesus’ words were spoken, came out of the tomb,
alive and well. Jesus spoke life into
death, spoke order out of chaos, just as God had done in creation.
showed himself to be God, the same bringer of order out of chaos that spoke in
creation, the same former and fashioner of the earth that formed and fashioned
all of life. Jesus also showed us who we
are because Jesus was fully human.
made in God’s image, as we’re told in Genesis 1.
words have power.
made to do creative and meaningful work with our hands and bodies.
are made as light bearers, carrying the fire of Jesus to help bring order out
of chaos as well.
take part in God’s story of bringing order out of Chaos.
meant to do creative and fulfilling work, and our jobs may be that work. Our jobs may also be tasks we fulfill. Our creative work that God has given us to
bring light and life, and order out of chaos may be different than our
jobs. Our creative work is our ministry,
something God has fashioned us to do to help bring beauty and life into
creation, to help bring order out of chaos.
words also have this power to bring order out of chaos. Our words can destroy, and our words can
create. We talked in the CLAY Leadership
classes about the power our words have to discourage people from their
dreams. Even people who love us and want
to encourage us sometimes say the wrong thing and end up discouraging us. Our words, of course also have the power to
encourage, to give life. We may not just
say “get up” to a dead body and it will, but our words our tremendous power to
kids in our schools who have such tragic home lives need words to give them
life. They need more positive influences
from loving people full of the light and life of Jesus. They need to know they aren’t alone in trying
to raise themselves.
not fully human if we are alone. The
first part of creation that was not good was that Adam was alone. We’re made for deep and meaningful
relationships. We’re mean to be naked
with each other and with God. We’re
meant to share vulnerability and intimacy with loving friends and family.
of love given intimately and nakedly, metaphorical nakedly are ways we bring
order out of chaos. Creative work to
bring life and light to the world are ways we bring order out of chaos. Jesus brings order out of chaos, and we carry
his fire, his spirit with us to bring that order out of Chaos.
the next two weeks, CLAY Leadership is having what they call “Parent
University”. Tuesday and Thursday nights
for the next two weeks, the trainers and other adults we can gather will be at
the three elementary schools and the middle school to have some time with the
parents and the kids together. It’s
going to be simple things, playing games together, there will be a lesson. It’s a chance for some relationship and
knowing that there is light and life, that there is order to be brought out of
be at two of the four; I’ll be here on the other two. We need folks from here to come to these as
well. We need folks there to help with
the activities, and folks to be there to be carriers of Jesus’ light. It’s public school, so from the front, we
don’t really mention Jesus, but we bring his light anyway, and we do get to
mention Jesus in private conversations.
to me. Sign up for a school after
church. Take a chance to speak words of
life to people in need of those words.
Take a chance to do some creative work, fashioning life out of the dust
of the ground. Take an opportunity to
help bring order out of chaos. Amen.