Monday, 04 January 2021
Knowledge quickened with Love
Reading: Sirach 24: 1-12
Scripture:“From eternity, in the beginning, he created me, and for eternity I shall not cease to exist.” (Sirach 24:9)
Reflection: We do not always have a second Sunday after Christmas Day, as this depends on the day of the week on which Christmas Day falls. And, I suspect that, even when we do, many prefer to use the traditional Old Testament reading, Jeremiah 31: 7-14, rather than the alternate or complementary reading offered in the lectionary, from the Book of Sirach, one of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament, also known as Ecclesiasticus or The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach.
Here, in the first verses of this passage, “Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people…In the assembly of the Most High…and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory”. In verse 9, Wisdom’s words, “From eternity, in the beginning, he created me, and for eternity I shall not cease to exist” are reflected in the words of the first verses of John’s gospel, (John 1:1-2) which is paired with this reading, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, He was in the beginning with God”.
These words from Sirach, at the start of a new year which follows one which left few of us unscathed and many of us bruised, battered and broken, remind us that we need to learn from Wisdom whose works and strength are there for all to see. As we read these alternate passages, we will hear again the voices of our ancestors, for Wisdom taught them how to survive in “a nation of oppressors” and how to “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land”. They held on, believed in her, trusted her and heeded her correction. They shared stories about Wisdom and told of her works and her glory; they praised her strength and thanked God she was there for them in their own frailties and weaknesses. They learned that, “Wisdom rescued from troubles those who served her” (Wisdom 10: 9), brings them together and “opens the mouths of those who were mute” (Wisdom 10:21) to speak out about their distress when the world tries to silence their cries. Wisdom gives us songs to sing through our tears and balms to heal our wounds and, just as Wisdom guided our ancestors and “became a shelter to them” (Wisdom 10:17) so she will direct us to the places we should go. Just as she has been “before the ages in the beginning” so Wisdom will be “for all the ages” to come.
The God of creation is therefore the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom, because He created everything and knows everything. You have no doubt heard the expression that there is nothing new under the sun. In a manner of speaking this is saying that all knowledge has existed from the beginning of Creation. But, knowledge by itself is not wisdom. Knowledge is the awareness while wisdom is the application of that awareness. So, knowledge would cause us to understand and appreciate the circumstances in which we exist, while wisdom would cause us to respond in a way that glorifies God by our lives and how we live and by sharing our knowledge of God, with all corners of the world.
Even though we pray to our Creator of Wisdom, for too long, we have ignored Wisdom’s power to calm the storms raging inside and swirling around us and have either forgotten or overlooked the mighty and wonderful works she has done time and again, throughout history. We must therefore humble ourselves and ask God to restore wisdom to our hearts, rebuild her throne in our souls, guide us back to unity, speak so loudly to us that we cannot ignore her teachings and correct our wicked ways so that we can no longer do harm to others or to ourselves. But, more than anything else, we must seek Wisdom’s direction towards restoration and ask for patience to learn, once again, how to uplift ourselves and others.
Meditation: Faith is the beginning of wisdom which comes only from a lifelong journey in God’s Word. Just as Jesus grew in wisdom, so we must strive to grow in God’s wisdom so that we might better imitate Him as a living sacrifice in our daily lives.
Prayer: God of all Creation we know that we are wonderfully made, in Your image and likeness. Deliver us Lord from the pride that would cause us to forget that we are Yours and help us to remain ever conscious of the need to worship and praise You. Amen.
St. Jude’s Church
Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
04 January 2021