Order, Chaos and Liturgy


I’ve been reading Jordan B. Petersons 12 Rules for Life. I have enjoyed the book thus far.  I like Douglas Wilson's summer of Peterson’s number one best seller, “this book contains pockets of silliness connected by long stretches of common grace on fire.”  Peterson talks about how our lives can be understood as containing and being framed by constructs of order and chaos.   An ordered life looks like a family with healthy relationships and healthy kids, and it looks like being able to pay your bills, it looks like working hard and resting well.  Chaos disrupts order when a child gets sick, when an unexpected bill arrives in the mail, or when your hours get cut, or you lose your job.  In the Garden of Eden order looked like working and keeping the Garden. Chaos, or possible chaos, entered the Garden in the form of the serpent.   Chaos is as common as order, for every orderly slant of life can crumble into chaos. However, it is out of the rubble of chaos that order is built.  

Chaos is as common as order, for every orderly slant of life can crumble into chaos. However, it is out of the rubble of chaos that order is built.


There are profound echoes of the gospel in these observations. For example, James 1:16 says,  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”  James understands the word “religious” as one who lives a Eucharistic, liturgical, worshipful, patterned life. To be religious is to have an ordered life, it's to live a life full of the rhythms and habits that form us into the image of Christ. This ordered liturgical life calls all chaos into submission.   If one thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, he is in fact not ordered; instead, he is one who promotes chaos through speech. And his religion is worthless. To follow Jesus is to have a spiritual and liturgical life of order. To live a godly life is to live an orderly life. When chaos seeks to destroy order, we bring it under submission to the King. Like the chaos of Genesis 1:2 bowed in submission to the King in Genesis 1:3.  We do not allow it to fester; we do not let it break us down and throw us into a fractured tizzy. Chaos is a threat to order, as sin is a threat to holiness. When sin seeks to inject its venom, we take the sword of the spirit and deal it a death blow. When chaos threatens order, we stand firm and bring it into submission like the wise man does his tongue. Chaos looks like doubt, pride, anxiety, bitterness, fear, hatred, and false worship.  And the best antidote for chaos: Liturgy.  

Chaos looks like doubt, pride, anxiety, bitterness, fear, hatred, and false worship.  And the best antidote for chaos: Liturgy.