This past Sunday was Trinity Sunday. A day in the church year where we celebrate the work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three-fold aspect of God. The passage from scripture that we are looking at this Sunday is perhaps not the most obvious choice when we consider the Trinity. However, embedded within it is an underlying grasp for the way God has worked in and through creation, which gives subtle hints to the aspects of the Trinity.
Text: Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31
To each his own.
Live and let live.
Different strokes for different folks.
Don’t rock the boat.
Each of these is a common saying, they are phrases that we might describe as common folk wisdom. However, each of these amounts to a one-word saying which perhaps points to our doom. The postmodern verbal shrug of ‘Whatever!’
What these proverbs convey is the notion that when all is said and done, this world’s many jigsaw puzzle pieces cannot, and so will not, be assembled into a single, coherent picture of life. Wisdom in the biblical sense need not be pursued because there’s finally no point to it. Each of us has been handed a little box of puzzles pieces that conveniently snap together in any number of different ways. So if the picture I end up assembling of what I think my life should look like ends up being wildly different from what you piece together, big deal! Different strokes for different folks. Why would anyone even expect that any two puzzles would end up looking similar?
What the Book of Proverbs offers is a concentrated graduate course in the art of living. It is an education founded on the premise that life adds up to something coherent and good, stable and full of peace because there is a Creator God who made each person and each thing. Further, God made each person and each thing to work in certain ways (and not in others) so that if everybody functions the way they were made to function, life would get webbed together into a marvellously complex, inter-locking system of mutual affirmation. There simply is a wise way and a foolish way to do most anything. (Reference).
All of this is affirmed in the opening lines of our passage from Proverbs, “Does not wisdom call out?”
Wisdom does indeed call to each of us. I suppose the question we need to ask of ourselves is are we listening? If wisdom calls, are we interested in what wisdom has to say to us?
When we think of wisdom we might think of ‘wise sayings’ that we have heard. Expressions that we might wish we had coined or that we could recall during certain conversations. Then everyone would nod their heads and think wow that person is so wise. There is wisdom in well crafted words, with deep meaning.
However, there is also wisdom in how we live. Dr. Vicki Vaughn puts it this way, “There are two ways to travel through life. Either we travel as though we are riding in “bumper cars” or we travel as though we are driving on a highway. To borrow a phrase from Robert Frost, which one we choose will make “all the difference.” Bumper cars travel on a platform and where the drivers go depends on how they respond to whatever bumps up against them. Now to the right. Oops! Now to the left. Watch out! Now spinning in circles. There is no set course, no beginning point, no ending point. There are just random movements responding to stimuli. On the other hand, drivers on a highway get on the road at a certain point and do not get off the road until they arrive at their chosen exit. Sadly, most people select the bumper-car method of living and somehow are terribly surprised when the ride is over because they realize they have gone nowhere and accomplished nothing.
Wisdom or wise living is essential to the work of the Kingdom. It isn’t just about showing up on Sunday morning hoping that all the puzzle pieces will make sense. We are encouraged to study the puzzle pieces and put them into place. To recognize that there is an intended order to things, even if we can’t fully understand the order.
But wisdom was there in the beginning. We read, “The Lord created me first of all, the first of his works, long ago. I was made in the very beginning, at the first, before the world began.” So wisdom is old, timeless. However, the description of wisdom’s inception is interesting.
Today is Trinity Sunday and the question might be how does wisdom fit into this notion of the Triune aspect of God, that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Well consider this passage from Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
Or we might want to consider this passage from John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Is it possible to recognize that wisdom which is mentioned here in Proverbs is an aspect of the Trinity? We don’t need to say which aspect as the three are interchangeable, but here we see an argument can be made for Wisdom to be either the Son or the Spirit as both were present with God at the beginning of all things.
What is clear is that Wisdom was present during the ordering of creation. That God, Father, Son and Spirit had a plan when the world was formed. Creation is not just a random group of events, but is the result of God who delights in the beauty found in the natural world.
Wisdom describes herself as an architect who was with God daily and was God’s source of joy. This implies that God enjoyed the act of creation. What is interesting is that the Hebrew word for architect or builder can also be translated a little child. You heard me correctly in Hebrew the word for architect and little child are the same.
This introduces a certain amount of ambiguity into our passage this morning. Was wisdom a builder or a child? I think it is possible to say that Wisdom acted in both functions. That just as we watched the kids play with blocks this morning we saw them demonstrate a desire to build and we witnessed their joy in the act of creation.
What we do know is that Wisdom delights in the world and in humanity. God delights in the world and in humanity. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit delight in humanity.
One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever and ever delights in our ability to create in play. God calls out to us and ask us to follow in the path of Wisdom. Which is to say to live as Jesus taught, understanding the sacrifice that he made and also to live in communion with the Holy Spirit. God’s truth is pertinent to all people. Salvation is there for all people.
We don’t talk about the Trinity often. Yes, I reference God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But I certainly haven’t, nor did I do today, a detailed explanation of the Doctrine of the Trinity. It appears to be an abstract and perhaps far-fetched concept, better left to the theologians. However, when we study the Doctrine of the Trinity and we bring it down to its basics we recognize one thing: Everything that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit do is founded in God’s love. Not just love which is sent from a distance, but love is which acts amongst us. Love which is real, which reaches out and desires to have a relationship with us.
Our passage this morning reminds us of God’s love and that God delights to be in our presence. Amen.