Written by Andrew R. Guffey, Priest-in-Charge of St. Mary’s
In-The-Hills Episcopal Church, Lake Orion, Michigan.
Our lives are full of information. We can get answers to just about any question of trivia we might have on Google within seconds. We can look up our symptoms to see if we can figure out what ails us. We can search out the most arcane knowledge, but the questions that matter most to us—How long will I feel alone? Why is that so beautiful that my heart feels full to bursting? What is my life for?—Google can’t really answer those sorts of questions. For the questions that mean the most to us we know we need something deeper, we need wisdom. In an age of information, we are desperate for wisdom.
The book of Proverbs speaks constantly of Wisdom, in which all of creation was founded. In chapter eight, Wisdom cries out:
The Lord created me as the beginning of God’s ways for God’s works….
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 were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brough forth—
When he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil.
When God established the heavens, I was there,
When God drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When God made firm the skies above,
When God established the fountains of the deep,
When he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress God’s command
When God marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside God, like a master worker;
I was daily God’s delight, rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in God’s inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” (Proverbs 8:22-31)
As the early Christians marveled at the world God had made and God’s delight in humankind, is it any wonder that they identified this Wisdom through which God created all that is with Christ? The Wisdom of Proverbs is like the Logos (the Word) in the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word…through whom all things came into being, and without whom not a single thing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1, 3). Christ was there at the beginning, when all was created, and it was through Christ, the Divine Wisdom, that the heavens were established, the skies and the depths and the very foundations of the earth were made. Christ was and is and always will be God’s daily delight, rejoicing before God in the work of creation, and delighting in the human race.
What does Divine Wisdom have to say to our deepest questions? What does it mean for us that the world was created through Wisdom, through the Divine Word, through Christ? It might mean, as theologian Rowan Williams writes, that “God makes the world to be itself, to have an integrity and completeness and goodness that is—by God’s gift—its own. At the same time, God makes the world to be open to a relation with God’s own infinite life that can enlarge and transfigure the created order without destroying it” (Christ the Heart of Creation, xiii). At the heart of Creation is not God’s judgment or disfavor, but the God disclosed in Christ is a Triune God who creates everything—including we ourselves—out of overflowing delight.
Where is Wisdom to be found? In the very creation all around us. This Lent, as we ponder wherein we might have strayed, and our need to be renewed in God’s image, may we be inspired not by our disappointment, but by the infinite beauty of God disclosed by the creation of all the world, a work of love between God and Christ, the Divine Wisdom. How might this world, charged with God’s grandeur, lead us to the heart of the Triune God, who daily and constantly delights in God, the world, and, believe it or not, in you and me?