Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mission amongst the Chaos

I don't remember much from my high school physics class, but there was one thing I remember quite well: everything tends toward chaos. Anything left to itself will gradually move toward disorder. This is illustrated in the movie "I Am Legend." In this movie, we observe New York City after almost the entire population has been killed by a virus. There was no one there to bring creative order to the city, and as a result grass grew through the streets, buildings were collapsing, and all the systems developed to sustain life fell apart.

On a more relevant level I see this reality in my closet, when I walk in my office or with my children almost every day. We have to vacuum our carpets everyday. Disorder happens even when no one does anything. Order, I have found actually requires a great deal of consentrated creativity.

We see this illustrated in the opening of the creation story. We see in verse 2 that the earth was a waste and a void. Chaos reigned. Darkness ruled. But the the Spirit moved across the waters. And the creative order of God rolled out. Day one ... Day two ... Day three... Day four ... Day five ... Day six ... Day seven ...

To join God in his mission in this world involves the creativity of bringing order to chaos. If you have every been a part of a creative project you know that there is an unknown element to creativity. It requires ingenuity, time, and unpredictable steps. Preplanned agendas and creativity do not coincide. Sadly many think there are such things as missional programs that we magically lead us into mission. But that's like coloring by number when we are invited to learn from the master artist of mission. The Spirit invites us to create with God and bring order to the chaos that surrounds us. I cannot do this by copying how someone else is participating in God's mission, but only by walking in creativity with the Spirit.

Missional living invites us into a creative way of life where we join God in his creative redemption of the chaos of our world. Most of the time this comes in small ways. Weeding a garden may not seem like a significant act when trying to grow vegetables, but skip a couple weeks and see what happens. In the same way, having regular conversations with your neighbors might not seem like it has a huge Kingdom impact, but without those conversations, how else will they see Jesus in you? How else will you learn their needs and respond with service? How else will you know how to pray for them?

Chaos is everywhere. Creative redemption is roaming over the face of chaos. We get involved when we get specific and care enough to get involved.

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