Magazine article The American Organist

When the World Falls Apart

Magazine article The American Organist

When the World Falls Apart

Article excerpt

IF YOU were to look through the door of my study, you would know at a glance that I am well acquainted with the chaos monster. Books are piled upon books, papers upon papers, stack upon stack on the desk, the filing cabinet, the floor, and the couch. The chaos monster is always threatening to get the upper hand. What about you? Sooner or later most of us do battle with the chaos monster, if not in our study, then simply in the course of living. We think we have our day organized, where and when we have got to be. Then suddenly a text message comes in or the phone rings or the computer dings with an emergency we never foresaw.

Most of us are adept at dealing with the minor intrusions of the chaos monster, but there are other eruptions that shake the foundations of our being: the relationship we assumed would last a lifetime comes to a bitter end, we lose the job we love and have done for years, a beloved friend dies. And as if personal crises were not enough, the chaos monster also wreaks havoc with nations and with this planet. Systems break down, political compromise fails, violence spreads, solid ground trembles. What do we do when the world falls apart?

Our ancient forebears knew all about the chaos monster. It was a major figure in many of their mythical accounts about the creation of the world. They had various names for the monster: Tiamat, Rahab, Leviathan. Sometimes when their lives were violently disrupted, they would cry out to God and recall how he had vanquished the chaos monster at the beginning of all things. Consider, for example, Psalm 74. Enemies have destroyed the temple in Jerusalem: "At the upper entrance they hacked the wooden trellis with axes. And then, with hatchets and hammers, they smashed all its carved work. They set your sanctuary on fire; they desecrated the dwelling place of your name, bringing it to the ground."

The destruction takes down more than wood and stone. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.