Order, Disorder, Re-order.

Written by: Rev. Leigh Boelkins Van Kempen  

It’s a strange time all around. It’s strange at home. It’s strange at stores. It’s strange with our families. And it’s strange for churches. If your church is like mine, everything is being offered via the internet. So, on Sunday morning my husband and I watched the church service where he is a pastor. Following that, we watched the service from the church where our son is on staff. Usually, I don’t have the chance to “attend” two services. But it was the sermon from our son’s church that really got my attention. (Don’t tell my husband!)

The pastor quoted the Catholic theologian Richard Rohr. Father Rohr talks about the cycle of order, disorder, and re-order in our lives of faith. We live with a certain faith rhythm and routine, an order. Then, something intersects that way of living our faith, and causes disorder. As we grow and change through that disorder, ideally our faith will be re-ordered, and we will live with joy and purpose.

This pastor made the connection between Father Rohr’s perspective and the lives we are all living right now. Just as our faith has rhythm, our daily lives have a rhythm, an order that has been disrupted by COVID-19. I don’t know about you, but my life feels pretty disordered right now! And what we all long for is for things in our lives to be re-ordered, for Covid to leave and our new rhythm to
emerge—so we can have joy and purpose.

This order, disorder, re-order is evident in James 1: 12, as well. James encourages believers to endure the disorder, and to trust that God will see us through and show us a new way. The one who endures, James says, “is truly happy.” I’m waiting for this re-order, sometimes more patiently than other times! But God doesn’t abandon us in the disorder but promises to be with us. And that sounds pretty good to me!

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