Our reading from Proverbs today is one of the delightful passages on Wisdom, who is here portrayed as Woman Wisdom. Complete with female imagery, Wisdom is something more than something to keep and guard, but something to “hold on to” and “embrace”. Wisdom is both a lover and guardian.
I remember back to one of my seminary classes: Wisdom Literature: Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. It was a revelation of God’s goodness to be in fresh, new ways. So many want to paint life as black and white, when it is often anything but. Today’s issues of abortion, genetics, war, same-sex marriage, and trans rights are examples that moral and spiritual decisions are not often clear cut, with arguments on both sides, often with Scripture as the basis of each side’s argument. So who is right?
Along comes Wisdom. She promises more than just an embrace of understanding or a new revelation of wisdom. It becomes clear that Wisdom is a path. Proverbs is a good example, where from one chapter to another scripture seems to contradict itself. But that is the whole point: the wise person knows when to use which proverb for which occasion. It is not that truth is fluid. Contexts are fluid, and situations change, and the wise person knows how and when to apply which wisdom teaching. The longer one walks down the path of Wisdom with the Lord, the more clearly one can see which is applicable when.
This art has been long forgotten by our post-Enlightenment mindset, which values truth as if it is a scientific hypothesis meant to be proven.
Wisdom is the missing link.
My prayer is that we can rediscover the Wisdom Literature for what it is: a textbook for how to think and live into the mystery of God – how to seek God’s assistance in the midst of doubt and struggle.