Life – Wisdom and Wonder
by Ken Dale
Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the One God in Three Persons. Something that I?ve heard attempted to be explained in some pretty interesting ways ? I remember from my youth someone adamantly saying no?? it?s not like ?3 in 1? oil. I?ve done children?s messages with water, a tea bag, and sugar ? mixing them all together in one glass then making the point that they can?t be separated ? until of course one kid suggested evaporation. This past week I heard a new one that I think actually works ? water, ice, and steam. It is three expressions of the same thing ? in theology it is God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit ? or Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. But it is one God.
Anyway ? this morning I?d like to share something that came new for me this past week. It is in the readings from the Old Testament but maybe through the lens of New Testament. The suggestion was made that in the reading from Proverbs which speaks of wisdom we can find the personification of that third person of the trinity ? Holy Spirit. I loved it! It was right up there with reading the opening of John?s gospel when Jesus is spoken of as the Word of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. There?at the beginning ? In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In our lesson from Proverbs beginning with verse 22?we hear, The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.?Where there were no depths I was brought forth, and ending in verse 30 and?31 then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in?the human race.
Wisdom ? what comes to mind when you think of wisdom? Who comes to mind when you think of wisdom???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? (to congregation for responses)
I think it is true that we all have human wisdom to some degree. We may call it life experience or intuition or insights that come from the core of our being. Ponder the thought that human wisdom is an aspect of God?s presence in our lives. That this ?wisdom? within us is an innate connection with God. Douglas Donley suggests that wisdom is the speaker who not only explains who God is, but reminds us of who we seek to be. And I think it?s true that wisdom speaks to everyone and that we all have a piece of Wisdom in our souls if only we would pay attention to it and let it come, let it work in our lives. And I think that Wisdom is something we can see ? even understand but may have difficulty being able to explain. Again, think in terms of Holy Spirit and Wisdom working side by side. Or to use the phrase that came to us all in Bible study this past week ? it is seeing with the eye of the heart.
?Many years ago I went to visit with a hospice patient who was really experiencing a lot of anxiety about dying. When I spoke with that person I said, ?Please don?t take this the wrong way. But you?ve never done this before.? The response affirmed it ? this person didn?t know how to do it.? And it came to me to compare dying with being born. We don?t get instructions on how to come into this world ? but we do ? and being born is a natural part of life, part of God?s plan for us. The same is true of death. It is a natural part of life and is in God?s hands, so we trust God that it will be ok. The patient thought about it briefly and relaxed, found peace with it all, and died very peacefully a couple of days later. Wisdom, Holy Spirit –
For me it was gift of God that that image came to mind. It came from within and in many ways was an expression of my own faith. But I think somehow the wisdom of it all was something beyond me ? and I would dare say inspired by God. Wisdom is a helper to God as is obvious in the passage from Proverbs. She was there in the very beginning and is with God and with us now. She speaks to everyone ? and consider the wisdom of a child, sometimes more pure than the wisdom of an elder. She co-created with God in the beginning and continues to co-create with God now. Think about poets, musicians, artists as well as preachers and teachers who claim their
work to be inspired by God. It cannot be limited to just those people ? it is at work in and through us all. We each have a piece of Wisdom within us.
Think in your own life ? what have you made that made you most proud?? maybe a garden, art work, a meal, a vocation, a perspective you took on something, a song or poem you wrote, a community you were part of, an?inspired mission you were part of, a child or grandchild in your life. Something you created but had a keen sense of God being part of it as well ? a blend of your wisdom and the presence of the Creating Spirit of God ? maybe it is a sense of recovery in your life with the Re-creating Spirit of God.
And just add to your thinking those other passages of Scripture we have heard this morning ? Psalm 8 that declares the wonder of God?s creation and us to be created ?a little less than the angels? (KJV) or ?a little lower than God? (NRSV) ? either way the point is made. And God has given us dominion over it all. (the ?God is Still Speaking? Devotional today is wonderful regarding Dominion: Dominion over that which we do not value and respect turns into destruction.) Through that Wisdom, Holy Spirit ? we too are co- creators with God ? that Spirit, which continues the presence of the Christ in this world, is at work in and through our lives. Do you see yourselves at?God?s side? Yes ? we are careful about claiming it ? as we should be. Way too many people speak for God today to build themselves up, to win elected offices, wars and fights, to make enemies. But such abuse of God?s presence is not experienced in Wisdom. Wisdom sees through the fronts of those who?use religion/faith for personal gains. Wisdom holds the posture of truth ? and there is the Gospel ? when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into the truth. And Paul says because the love of God has been poured into our hearts?we have hope.
Hope! Again, we all have a piece of Wisdom within us ? and it runs deep within us and does not spout platitudes. But that piece of Wisdom within?just gets deeper and actually can sustain us in those dark and difficult times of our journey of life and faith. May we be in touch with it ? within ? for it does bring us forward ? and allows us to become and be the child of God we, each are called to be.