The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer

Introduction to the Readings for Growing In Wisdom Sunday

Once again our readings this morning provide us with two interconnected stories, this time both from the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. 

Our first reading was thought to have been composed for our faith ancestors, the Israelites, struggling during in exile some 600 years before Jesus walked the earth.  While some scholars attribute the writings to King Solomon, others feel they originate from more diverse and varied sources.

In the first passage, we hear a story about Lady Wisdom.  She is described as both being created by God and then drawn into God’s on-going creation of the universe as God’s master builder.  Some translations describe Lady Wisdom as one in whom God delighted and as one who also delighted in the human race in all its rich diversity.  Listen carefully to how this reminds you or not of our more familiar creation story found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis.  A reading from the book of Proverbs, Chapter 8, introducing “Wisdom’s Part in Creation” beginning with verses 1-4.

“Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrances of the portals she cries out: “To you, O people, I call and my cry is to all that live.”

And reading from verses 22-31:

“The Lord created me in 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 we 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 stars 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.”

In response to our first reading, we are invited to remain seated as we sing together from VU#942:

….hymn is sung…

 Our second reading continues on from our first this morning.  In keeping with the book of Proverbs as a collection of writings similar to the book of Job or Ecclesiastes whose function was to provide guidance for righteous living, these instructions might call to mind those offered by a proud teacher to favoured students or by a mother to her beloved offspring.  Reading from verses 32-36 we hear “instructions for Wisdom’s Children”

“And now, my children, listen to me:  happy are those who keep my ways.  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.  Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from God; but those who miss me injure themselves; all who hate me love death.”

For the word of God in scripture, for the word of God among us, for the word of God within us, thanks be to God.