Zachary Baker Rodes
Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
and she is easily discerned by those who love her,
and is found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,
for she will be found sitting at the gate.
To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding,
and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her,
and she graciously appears to them in their paths,
and meets them in every thought.
The Old Testament passage from today’s daily office comes to us from the Wisdom of Solomon. If you’ve never delved into the Wisdom literature of the Bible (Job, Proverbs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus), I urge you to do so. Wisdom literature is later writings of the Israelite people, usually written after the Babylonian exile. Wisdom, for the Israelites, is about steering life, the legacy of parents to their children, knowledge of experienced ones, and the quest of Israel for self-understanding and mastery of the world around them.
Today’s reading extends to verse 23, but I only wish to highlight verses 12-16. Here Wisdom is something that we seek but also makes herself known to us, as long as we seek her. But she is also seeking those who are “worthy of her”. In other words, she meets us half-way. Wisdom loves to teach and wishes to do so, but that can only happen when we are willing to be taught. To love Wisdom is to know her and to know her we must find her as she searches for us. Leaning into our relationship with God then becomes an exercise with Wisdom. Wisdom does come from sitting around. Through prayer and through action as Christians we are exposed to the wisdom that God is trying to part with us so that we may “be free from care”.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington