Monday, 13 February 2012

Divine Wisdom

All the readings set for today have the common golden thread running through them of divine wisdom.  The OT reading today is from Proverbs and talks of lady wisdom being there at the dawn of creation and because neither Winston nor Gainford would otherwise hear it I’ll end with it this morning.
Psalm 104 set for today starts “O Lord how manifold are your works, in wisdom you have made them all”
John’s gospel starts in the beginning was the word – and word here (Logos in Greek) is associated with divine wisdom.  The piece from Colossians also complements John’s prologue in identifying Christ as an embodiment of pre-existent divine wisdom.
I looked Wisdom up in the dictionary to find out what it actually meant and in the concise Oxford dictionary Wisdom is defined as “experience and knowledge together with the power of applying them critically or practically”
So there are two facets to wisdom – yes there is the experience and knowledge but also the power to practically apply that knowledge”
The Biblical wisdom tradition of which the book of Proverbs is one such example is clear that Wisdom was involved in the creative process. The poetry of Proverbs is written with a lovely light touch and shows us a designer working hand in hand with a female accomplice (wisdom in the Hebrew Bible is female) who expresses her approval by playing with creation and delights in the human race.
The world, the universe as a whole, is shown not as a machine left to run on its own after it had been made but  as something in which God is intimately, playfully, involved with.
So you see how natural it was for early Christians to associate Christ with Wisdom. Jesus was seen as embodying in his life that knowledge, or knowing, and experience born of a spiritual experience (at his baptism in the Jordan). His words then became to them the words, or wisdom, of God, the parables became for them the wisdom of God applied to real life, his life given in loving devotion to divine justice and love, a giving that led to his execution, an embodiment of divine wisdom in the way he lived his life.
To follow Jesus on the way became synonymous with following divine wisdom. How can we summarise that divine wisdom? Jesus told us to love God with all our mind heart and soul and to love our neighbour as ourselves – that is the divine wisdom. All else flows from that love.
Does not wisdom call,
   and does not understanding raise her voice?
The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of long ago. 
Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water. 
Before the mountains had been shaped,
   before the hills, I was brought forth— 
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
   or the world’s first bits of soil. 
When he established the heavens, I was there,
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 
when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep, 
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 
   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. 


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