More Than a Little Chaos

When I am among the trees, / especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally beech, the oaks and the pines, / they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself, / in which I have goodness, and                    discernment,
and never hurry through the world / but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves / and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, / “and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled / with light, and to shine.”

“When I am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver

There is more than a little chaos in the world right now. We experience this chaos in all the distractions that separate us from our best and most authentic selves. It is whatever divides us, diminishes us, demeans us. And there are all kinds of chaos pulling us this way and that with loud and ungracious voices, battering us with anger and fear and badgering us with pain and grief. There are all kinds of chaos that would hold us captive, keep us up at night, and refuse to let us sink into that powerful Love that longs to set each one of us free.

And so, at some point, we intentionally have to step away from the chaos. We have to trust – as hard as it may be – that there is a robust source of Hope that lies beneath the chaos and calls to us, reminding us that a deep sense of Peace and connectedness are possible. When I remember this – and when I manage to step out of the chaos, even for a moment – I am able to exhale. I am able to release my semblance of tight control and rest in the comforting and inspiring presence of God. I am able to remember – like the poet reminds us – that God does, indeed, call each one of us to go easy into the world, to be filled with light, and to shine.

Even as we wrestle with the chaos, we are not alone. As heavy as the world may feel, it is not ours alone to lift. And as we go to the polls in the coming days to vest some of our peers with the authority to make decisions for the common good and to reign in some of the chaos, we do so as part of a much larger community, as members of God’s beautiful, beloved, and diverse family. I truly believe that as we work together, speak up for Justice, and support one another on our spiritual journeys, powerful and amazingly good things will happen.

See you in church,


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