On Faith: It’s clutter now, but clarity loomsI can’t help but notice all the mess in my life lately. It’s terribly messy outside in our northern Minnesota version of spring. Freezing, melting, and re-freezing; rain or slushy snowfall; mud and puddles everywhere.
By: Pastor Susan Berge, Knife River Lutheran Church, Lake County News Chronicle
I can’t help but notice all the mess in my life lately. It’s terribly messy outside in our northern Minnesota version of spring. Freezing, melting, and re-freezing; rain or slushy snowfall; mud and puddles everywhere.
Walking the dogs is a major challenge, as we try to wend our way around the worst of the potholes filled with muddy water. I dread letting the dogs out into the yard, knowing the clean-up needed on their dirty paws when they return into the kitchen.
There’s mess in my home, too. With a daughter heading for college next fall, our dining room table is often overflowing with scholarship application forms, financial records, and the like. Cross country ski equipment and ice fishing gear, no longer in use, clutter the basement.
Recalling how in the act of Creation, God brought order out of chaos, I find myself longing to do the same thing. The mess and clutter seem like discouraging impediments. Perhaps on a metaphorical level, they also remind me of the uncertainty or confusion I experience personally at times.
And yet … there is another facet to what appears to be mess, disorder, and confusion. There’s the facet of new life, new beginnings. Out of the muddy mess of spring will come, at last, grass that greens up and tulips that burst into bloom. Out of the confusion of forms and financial details, there comes a new beginning for my daughter in the fall. Out of the clutter of the equipment no longer in use there comes, eventually, the motivation to re-organize the basement and bring out the garden tools and the basketball hoop to welcome the next season.
Perhaps a certain degree of mess and confusion is necessary for the creative process, for the renewal and re-birth of the earth, and even of ourselves.
We find ourselves now in the middle of Lent, with Holy Week soon to come. Holy Week recognizes the last week of Christ’s life on earth, beginning with Palm Sunday, and continuing on through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and culminating in Easter. Certainly, Holy Week was a time of confusion and disorder. There’s nothing neat or tidy about the events of Jesus’ arrest, torture and execution. Everyone who loved Him was in turmoil, and despair. But out of that confusion and mess came the New Creation: Resurrection. Maybe that’s how God works in the world, and maybe that’s how God works in us, too.
Perhaps what is needed in such times of confusion, process, and mess is less impatience and frustration on our part and more trust and patience.
Although the resurrection of Christ happened in three days, our own renewals and new beginnings usually take much longer. The process of God at work in our lives may be a slow process but the good news is that God is with us, ever creative, even in the times of confusion and mess.
A favorite hymn of mine speaks to the reality of growth coming from the disorder of springtime:
“Now the green blade rises from the field of grain.
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been;
love is come again like wheat arising green.
When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain;
your touch can call us back to life again.
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been;
love is come again like wheat arising green.”
Pastor Susan Berge is the pastor at Knife River Lutheran Church. She and her husband live with their daughter and two dogs in Two Harbors.