God brings life out of chaos. This was the theme of my senior thesis paper in college, looking at it through the lens of Ezekiel 37 (the valley of dry bones). It is also a phrase/theme I have heard brought up quite a few times recently as we are living through a time rife with chaos. The chaos of a once a century level global pandemic. The chaos of having new and different responsibilities we did not necessarily ask for (many people now being parent and teacher and worker all from their homes). The chaos of historic fires, hurricanes, and droughts. The chaos of continued violence toward our siblings of color who have been treated like theirs lives do not matter for far too long.
God brings life out of chaos. This theme shows up time after time throughout scripture. From creation, to the flood, to the exodus, and even through the resurrection. Over and over again scripture tells us how God brings life and order out of chaos and death. From the formless void of the waters of creation God brings forth life. Out of the nothingness God brings forth land and sky, and creatures of every kind in water, air, and land. From the dirt of the earth God forms and breathes life into beings created in Gods own image, creating adam from the adamah. Through the chaos of the flood God brings a covenant to Noah through the promise of a rainbow in the sky God promises to never flood the earth like that again. Through the Exodus God brings the Israelites from slavery into freedom. Bringing them hope when they felt that all hope was lost. Through Ezekiel and his vision of dry bones God reminds those in Exile that even then God will bring life out of the death and isolation they are experiencing. Through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus God brings all of humanity into the new life of Christ. Over and over again God reminds us of God’s promises to bring life and to bring hope out of the places of death and brokenness.
Right now things may feel like the chaos is overflowing all around us. We may feel like we are in the valley of bones, disconnected and alone. We may feel like the waters are rising all around us, and we are struggling to stay above the waves. We may feel like we are being surrounded by persecutors and critics examining every choice and decision we are making. And even yet, I bet that if we sit down and think through all that has gone on over the past 6 months we could each come up with at least one moment or one story where we saw God show up. One place where God was taking the brokenness and death around us and bringing new life.
I do not want to negate the real struggles that many have faced through these trying and unprecedented times, but at the same time I am clinging tightly to God’s promise of bringing hope and life even when everything around us feels like death and destruction. I cling to the promise of the Holy Spirit being with us and guiding us through it all. In the stories of God bringing life from chaos the Spirit is there. The Spirit is there hovering over the watery chaos of the creation. The Sprit is there in the breath of God that breathes life into creation. The Spirit is there in the wind blowing back the water to create a path for the Israelites to escape. The Spirit is there in the wind that Ezekiel calls to bring life to the dry bones. The Spirit is there with the disciples as they live into their call to share God’s message with all peoples. And the Spirit is here with us as we live through the challenges of today and work toward a better tomorrow.