The world is loud, right now. Shouting. Shouting. Shouting. “Give me space!” “A little elbow room, please!” “Hear me! Hear me! Hear me!” Have we split our collective brain down the center? How else can we explain this wandering through a schizophrenic jumble of holiday greetings and fabulous cats on wheels and cardboard coffins laid in a row?
It is chaos, we hear ourselves whisper between practiced lines of “Our Father, who art in heaven,” and “. . . He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . .” and “Now I lay me down to sleep.”
Chaos jolts us from our sleep and that is good, very good, because the world needs us awake. We have this treasure in earthen vessels and we need to be awake. They are watching us, and we wander dangerously close to offering nothing but the same old same old when what we really have to give—if we could just press through—is Light.
Our heels are ragged and bloody and oozing for all the digging in. Our knees ache from being braced against the possibility of middle ground, or even common ground. Our index fingers are overworked, and our voices have gone raspy from the shouting.
Have we forgotten chaos is God’s best creative workshop?
The story goes that in the beginning, all that we know and all that we see was nothing, and that particular nothing was formless and void. Chaotic.
But God stepped out into the chaos and said, “Let there be . . .” And there was.
There was no need for shouting. Right there, in the beginning, with just God hovering over the face of the deep, God didn’t need to shout to be heard above our noise. God is not the shouting type, I don’t think. He’s not going to raise his voice simply to be heard above our noise. He’s not limited by gravity or ego or fear or anger, the way we sometimes are. And so, God speaks in his still, small voice. What if we’re missing Him, because of our noise?
It’s up to us to hear Him. To seek Him. To make the way straight for the Lord.
He is coming to rescue us—not out of the chaos, but in the chaos. This—this rescue in the midst of the upside down, weary and worn, terrifying and titillating, frustrating, confusing, misunderstood, violent, dark, and ugly mess—this is God’s signature move. We keep searching for a way out, raising our voice with each step we take. But God delivers us out by bringing us through.
When He does, we are rendered speechless.
Check the history books and the biblical accounts and you will see our default is to pick a side and then argue our point so that we can add members to our team. It is our bent, our humanity showing through. But, right this very moment, we are marking the days in anticipation of a more excellent way: God, wrapped in skin, coming to be with us.
God shows up on the scene with words like, “Bless those that curse you. Bless, and do not curse.” Or, “Father, forgive them . . .” Tough words, this Jesus whispers over our souls. But also, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He calls us to the table and invites us to lean in. It is the power of the table, and the Holy Spirit is the power at the table. He promises He’ll be there when we gather. Will we be able to get over the fact that we never expected the person sitting next to us or across from us to get an invitation to this table? I imagine we’ll have to lean in close enough to rub shoulders, if we’re going to hear the voice of Jesus, or catch a glimpse of Him asking for someone to pass the salt . . . to be the salt.
Some questions for you: Advent means we expect Christ to show up in a very real way, right in our midst. Is your world too noisy for you to hear Him? How can you find silence to hear the still, small voice of God in the midst of the shouting? Have you been waiting for God to deliver you out of something? What would change if you thought He might be delivering you through?
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