the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

not 1, but 2

For the 08-09 school year I have been fortunate to be a part of a team of people collaborating to design and direct the worship of Asbury- both on campus in Thrillmore and beyond. Weekly we go around the table during our meal/meeting and give a number from 1-10 on what our "peace" and "chaos" was for the week, 1 being lowest, 10 being highest. Chad, my blogging sensei and our team leader reflects about this back in Nov and even just a few days ago-

"I quit allowing a stressful and busy schedule to identify who I am and to affect the amount of peace that I carry with me. That taught me to slow down when there wasn't the time too, and also to learn to relax very well when I had the time."

I too, have violently crashed into a life-giving epiphany in the past few months. And now, months later, here it is - Peace and chaos are two completely independent realities. Two streams, not mutually exclusive. One doesn't depend on the other- because there is peace, there can't be chaos and the converse- because of chaos there cannot be peace.

Before this, I had looked at life and all its events as just one stream with a mixture of peace and chaos- chaotic waters and peaceful waters. Or if you prefer a more colorful visual, I had looked at life as partly iced tea and partly lemonade, making the result always a mix of the two. During peaceful times it tasted more like lemonade, in stressful times, more like iced tea. Depending on which was one more (or higher on the scale) dictated the amount of peace I could have.
Very wrong.

In the midst of chaos, and I mean right in the thick of it, we are still able to have peace. I had thought they were completely connected, intertwined and dependent.

They don't need to be, and even shouldn't be.
We can read a story in Scripture of a man who is thrown into the living room of some lions. As he is untouched by the beasts- peace in spite of chaos. Or how about, the two men beaten and locked up in a dungeon, shackled, yet signing hymns - peace, pointing and laughing in the face of chaos. And of course, you knew I was heading there, a certain Someone asleep as the storm rages on the sea-
peace, completely unaffected by the chaos all around Him.

Peace is not the absence of chaos, it is the freedom from it.

from wilmore, with Love.


John David Walt said...

fantastic insight jeremiah-- this is what i have been trying to articulate myself-- you've identified it well. peace is not the absence of chaos but the freedom from it. to further it-- if we have Peace we don't need to be in control. Peace (which is the Presence of God) in the midst of chaos will eventually give birth to Creativity. Herein lies the Divine order of things. we could go on to talk about Sabbath and Shalom and order and the like-- but you are already connecting the dots.

keep up the good blogging.


Jonathan said...


You are MY blogging sensei. With your permission, I am totally planning on stealing that last line of revelation to inspire others and cogitate on it myself indefinitely - "Peace is not the absence of chaos, but the freedom from it." If you got it from somewhere other than your head, you should probably let me know. Otherwise everyone I tell it to is going to credit it to you, most likely making you one of the world's most inspiring thinkers of 2011 anticipated to be published on page 14 of PEOPLE Magazine. Bless you, bro.

jeremiah said...

thanks guys, much appreciated.

@jonathan- dude, steal away. people magazine would be cool. Being on the cover of Highlights children's magazine (in every dentist and doctor's office across the country) would be even better though.