Lent IV: Wisdom and power

Sorry to be late posting notes from yesterday:

With Refreshment Sunday, the Lenten purple lightens for a moment to pink.  The weather is warmer, flowers are blooming, Easter is coming.  Lent, like life, is rhythmic, and today we come up for a breath of air.  What is the spiritual refreshment in which we share this Sunday?  The collect tells us that God is a fountain of wisdom, a tower of strength, and an ever-shining sun of beauty and harmony.  As we participate in these qualities, we find the refreshment, the newness of life that we need to carry us forward.

The wisdom of God rests upon us, allowing us in whatsoever state we are, to be content.  (Phil. 4) We can be abased and we can abound, for we know that God’s wisdom passeth all understanding, and does not conform to the practical knowledge of the world. God’s wisdom is not a self-help book leading to worldly happiness.  Rather, it is an indwelling presence which enables us to meet the circumstances of life, in all their rhythms, with joy and peace.  Rev Mario Schoenmaker once remarked that he did not wish his students happiness (which is all too often a matter of small personal satisfactions); rather, he wished them peace – a harder and more profound reality.   Likewise, God’s power does not turn us into superheroes, at least not of the Dr Manhattan sort!  It is definitely not “name it and claim it” which is simply ego writ large.  Divine power is that which gives effective strength to wisdom.  We may have only two barley loaves and two small fish (John 6), but we can see how to use even the most limited resources to serve and nourish others, and we can find the strength to make it happen.

As our limited knowledge and egoic drives are increasingly suffused with divine wisdom and power, we shine with the sun of beauty and harmony, Christ radiating in us.  Perhaps one day we can repeat the truly frightening words of Paul: Those things, which ye have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.  Does the light of Christ shine so brightly in us that we can offer ourselves as an example to others?   With a question like that, the purple of Lenten reflection and metanoia returns…

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