Photo credit: Ryan Klinck

Photo credit: Ryan Klinck

Christ is Life
Advent, Week 4
by Andrea Lingle

I just spent three hours cleaning up the room shared by my second and third children. I begged, threatened, and cajoled my children to help me. I lost my temper when I found a basket of washed, dried, and folded clothes carelessly upended onto the floor. Every time I clean up my home, I am filled with grating antipathy for the world of physical science. Could we not have been dropped into a universe that tended toward order?

But we haven’t been. We have been dropped into a world then tends towards chaos.

Poverty is chaos.
Racism is chaos.
Loss is chaos.
Brutality is chaos.
An ocean full of plastic is chaos.

Our world tends toward chaos, and Jesus, a man who lived in this universe according it its laws, left this commission: train disciples, bringing order to a world bent on chaos through the power of Trinitarian baptism.

It is not our commission to save people from eternal torment. It is our commission, those who desire to follow Jesus in his life as the Christ, to bring attention to chaos, and it is through the power of the incarnate Christ that the laws of nature can be reversed. This is the story of resurrection. Through the power of the ongoing incarnation of Christ, the laws of the universe which tend toward disorder, can be reversed through resurrection.

This is truly good news. We are not powerless against the tide of entropy. We are resurrected through love. The chaos that threatens to tear the fabric of who we are and who we want to be is quieted through the mystical inpouring of grace from the Divine. We are loved. We are seen.

In a world where the incarnate Christ overcomes chaos,

Poverty is seen.
Racism is seen.
Loss is seen.
Brutality is seen.
An ocean full of plastic is seen.

And, when chaos is seen by love, it loses its power. When a hand reaches out to wash another’s foot, when a coat is wrapped around a cold body, when privilege stands between the aggressor and the marginalized in peace and strength, then chaos loses its power. It is through the incarnation of the Christ through those who swing their intention toward the life of the Divine that humanity can find hope to overcome hate and evil.

In a world that has lost its focus on organized religion, what relevance does the body of Christ have? What hope does the church, of any flavor, offer? What does faith extend to a world with a mandate toward chaos?

Nothing.

Nothing that is not already there. Grace pools at our feet whether or not we have eyes to see it. This is the infinite glory of the Divine. The life of faith simply offers this: develop eyes to see the grace and the chaos. For there is no way to begin to see the grace without also seeing the chaos. What does the incarnation of the Christ ask from you?

To acknowledge your humanity.
To acknowledge the humanity of the other.

This, then, is the resurrection and the life.

Reference:
This is slightly adapted from Andrea Lingle’s upcoming book, Into the Abundant Deep: A Credulous Journey of Faith, due to be released spring of 2018.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
Throughout Advent, the Invitation to Missional Mindfulness will be taken from the Advent Incarnate Incarnational Group Guide:

  • In what ways did you experience or observe God’s presence over
  • the last week?
  • In what ways did you feel distant from God this past week?
  • How would you like to grow in your relationship with God this next
  • week?

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