Pentecost +11 – Year B
The Process and Faith Lectionary Commentary notes how low the United States falls on scales of happiness and well-being while claiming to be the best in everything. It proceeds to suggest some ways, based on this week's lectionary, in which we might move toward Wisdom, the "Love" (better translation today than "fear") of Life. They write:
"Then, what brings wisdom and the joy that goes with it? While there is no one path to well-being, today’s passages point us in the right direction, and do so in a holistic manner. Today’s preacher might focus on the following wisdom-giving spiritual practices either in her or his sermon or in an adult education opportunity:
"Wisdom emerges from discerning what is important in life, by seeking the “bread of life,” God’s soul food, rather than superficial fast food that only satisfies us briefly. (John 6) Guidance comes when we ask for it; when we take time to reflect on what we truly desire in life and for our communities.
"Wisdom is experienced by listening to God’s presence in dreams and other non-rational experiences – moments of synchronicity, insight, and inspiration emerge when we take seriously the divine wisdom of the unconscious. (1 Kings 3;3-14)
"Wisdom arises from awe at the grandeur of the universe and the guiding, loving presence of God in all things. (Psalm 111)
"Wisdom comes from mindfulness and alertness. (Ephesians 5:18)
"Wisdom comes from “making the most of the time,” that is, living with intentionality, awareness, and openness. (Ephesians 5:16)
"Wisdom comes from living by spiritual affirmations, that is, by practicing “hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to God in your hearts.” (Ephesians 5:19) Spiritual affirmations, such as “Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” “My God will satisfy all my needs,” “I am the light of the world,” or “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” focus our attention on God’s presence in our lives, open us to greater resources for personal and social transformation, and heal negativity, both conscious and unconscious. Our theology is formed as much by what we sing as what we hear or say; accordingly, take time to sing your faith. (For more on the life transforming power of affirmations and hymns, see Bruce Epperly, The Power of Affirmative Faith, Chalice Press and Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living, Upper Room)
"Wisdom comes from gratitude, the virtue of interconnectedness that joins us with God and all creation. (Ephesians 5:20) Thanksgiving reminds us that we are all in this together. Just as we have received grace upon grace from others, and prosper as a result of the efforts of others, our calling is to be bountiful in our care for others. God’s abundance calls us to live abundantly in our generosity to others."
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Now comes the question of your experience/revelation – Would you add another description of the beginning of Wisdom? If you were to lay these seven (plus your additions) out in a row on a sheet of paper and put a scale next to it and rank your participation in journeying with Wisdom through that modality you might find something interesting.
W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W? W?
Would this lead you to delve deeper into your current channels of Wisdom or intentionally move into another realm?