Posted by: Postordinandy | June 29, 2009

Order & Chaos

As a community, we tried out a spiritual exercise one recent Wednesday. A fairly simple idea: we were asked to imagine a garden. No suggestions were given as to what kind of garden it was: instead, we spent around 10 minutes allowing and encouraging our imaginations to work. After a while, we were then invited to share a description of the different gardens we ‘found’ ourselves in; and to see if, as a group, we might discern anything God may be saying to us through this method. Obviously, this was an exercise suited better to some than others, but a few interesting things emerged for us.

Three ‘pictures’ were shared: Firstly, there was a hilly garden of daffodils. The flowers were occasionally buffeted by gardenthe wind, or drenched by the rain; some were eventually picked, while others were mown ‘back’ into the soil. Secondly, the image of a child’s drawing of a garden. This was packed with things to see and do – not neat and tidy at all, but a place of blessing none the less. Thirdly, a summer garden: bright, sunny & colourful. It was noted that behind the obvious walls of flowers, there were significant parts of the garden that appeared to be overgrown and uncared for.

As we collected our thoughts, a few themes emerged. One significant theme was of the relationship between order and chaos, of judgement and blessing.

There were two possible conclusions we considered:

1) We wondered if God was saying we should deal with the chaos of our lives, confess our sins and failures; repent of the unkempt wild flowers, childish disorder, and daffodils gone to waste.

2) Or could God be calling us to enjoy the very same chaos? There was a surprising and disarming peace to be found in the messiness of the child’s picture; there was a feeling of freedom and appropriateness to the wild flowers growing behind the neat, order flowerbeds; and it occurred to us that, even when their heads were mown down, the daffodil bulbs remain.

Our ‘gut instinct’ was that God was saying the latter – that the wildness can be of equal beauty to the carefully cultivated, that He is at work in the chaos, working through it, and (of course) sometimes against it.

We have seen, or felt, elements of this as we have explored what it means to be a community of God, perhaps particularly as we meet together in the café each week. We feel challenged to learn better how to ‘enjoy the ride’ with God (see the entry on ‘cycling with God’), rather than to exert our energies on wrestling the controls from Him. Time will no doubt tell if there is anything in this, or if we have completely misunderstood what God may have been telling us.

But the important thing remains the same regardless: that we need to trust God above our own understanding.

After all, in all of this, we must believe and remember that ultimately it is His time, his garden, his perspective, and his tactics… that is perhaps just as well.



  1. This is just what I needed to hear this morning, thanks.

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