Finding Goodness in the Midst of Chaos

October 18, 2020

Genesis 1:1-2 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. 

Just imagine:  creation not yet defined; chaos (typically denoted by ‘waters’ in the Hebrew Bible) everywhere; the wind of God – the creative breath of the Holy One – sweeping across it all. 

Then God said:

 “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.  (Genesis 1:3-4). 

With the coming of the light, life begins. With the coming of the light, goodness is found in the midst of chaos!

Such majesty and beauty! In the midst of chaos God brings light and goodness is found!

And so I wonder: in the midst of our current chaos, as the Spirit of God continues to sweep over all creation, where is goodness to be found in the light of each new day?

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It’s easy to find chaotic deep waters outside of ourselves these days. Maybe too easy. 

This year we have spent so much time focusing on the chaos rather than finding the light of God’s goodness.  The exhaustion of living in this darkness makes us complacent. We find ourselves loving the darkness and allowing ourselves to become part of life in the shadows of what is easy, not necessarily what is right or good. (John 3:19-21

Thankfully, though, as the Holy Spirit continues to move across us, we become bothered by the deep darkness of the world every now and then and try to live in the light once more.  I was talking to someone recently who asked: “What happened to your generation?  You were all about peace, racial and gender equality, environmental concerns, integrity among our national leaders – what happened to all those great movements?”  

Good question! 

‘Back then,’ a light dawned as the Spirit swept over us and the injustice so prevalent throughout the world was revealed in many ways as the light began to dawn. Unfortunately, we were unwilling, or unable, to stand firm in the light.  We got distracted by the shiny objects of success, bought into the mantra of ‘going with the flow’ and became complacent. We settled for shadows, ignored the rushing wind of the Spirit, and returned to the chaotic darkness of ‘what works.’ 

Still, in God’s infinite wisdom and unconditional love, the Holy Spirit continues to move, and God continues to call forth the light and goodness is found. 

Even in the chaos of 2020.

These days the light of divine creation, recreation and accountability is revealing that our grand words of valuing all life as sacred are perhaps more shadow than light. 

  • Is no child really left behind? Is no elder really discarded? (Isaiah 65:20)
  • Is there really no distinction between the members of humanity that God has created in terms of race, sex, nationality, or differing ability? (Galatians 3:28)
  • Is love for God and each other truth or slogan? (Matthew 22:37-40)
  • Is humanity truly fulfilling God’s command that we steward all creation rather than exploit it? (note: Genesis states we were made in God’s image, so when we are giving dominion/authority over the earth, we are intended to care for the earth as God cares)

I am sure you have your own examples of ways God is shining the light of accountability into our current chaos. For now, what if we focus on finding the light of God’s goodness that will set all things right? 

To do that, we must look inside ourselves! 

Because WE are the light bearers – the image of God – that our Lord intends to use as instruments of bringing the divine light of goodness and hope for a new creation to a world spinning in chaotic darkness (Matthew 5:14). 

In order to be such light bearers, we must find God’s goodness within ourselves.  

We all have our personal dark, empty, chaotic spaces which threaten to overwhelm our goodness – even the ‘holiest among us; and I attribute those space to what I call the ‘chosen child syndrome’ – 

They are those dark spaces where 

  • we focus on finding the bad in others rather than discovering and encouraging their sparks of goodness
  • we succumb to entitlement and competitive natures which dampen our celebration others and compel us to claim first place at all costs. 
  • we judge others so harshly while giving ourselves a pass (after all, aren’t the sins of others always greater than our sins……?). 

It often seems that in order to be found good in God’s eyes, we must find inferiority and failings in others; but actually it’s just the opposite!

Our true goodness is found as we shine light on others and reveal their goodness through God-given light-filled compassion rather than dark judgment of self-righteousness; through the soft rays of holy forgiveness, compassion, and understanding that we have ourselves received rather than blazing, death-dealing guilt and oppression; through the glow of loving inclusion rather than the glare of bitter exclusion. 

It is as we choose to allow God to reveal goodness in us AND others and as we live from that place of God-given goodness that the light of a new and wonderful creation will fill the world and chase back the darkness – all to the glory of God!  2020 might just turn out to be the beginning of God’s new creation! Just imagine! Don’t you long to hear the Lord say: “it is good!” After all, all things are possible…..(Romans 8:28)

And to God be the glory!  AMEN.

Published by Pastor Catharine

Retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have a Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (with an emphasis on Spiritual Transformation of Community) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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