Tagged: wisdom

1 Peter 2:19-25

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on May 7, 2017.

We live in a society that questions authority figures. We consider it a badge of honor when someone successfully challenges “the powers that be.” Although 1 Peter would not encourage us to ignore unethical behavior in organizations, the writer values endurance through difficulty over retaliation toward oppressors. To endure pain is to resist it. First Peter challenges exiles to behave like sheep in a flock under the authority of a shepherd. The book instructs them to maintain respect for human authority figures, especially those with whom they disagree and to endure opposition as a form of Christian mission.

Verses 19-25 are included as part of the instructions for persons who work together in a family business where the authority figure is not a follower of Jesus. Most ancient households were businesses in miniature. In 1 Peter 2-3, there are instructions for all persons (2:13-17; 3:8-22), slaves (2:18), wives (3:1-6), and husbands (3:7), depending on their position in the home workplace. Presumably, Christians will work for someone who does not share a belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Just as we learned in chapter 1 that Christians are not to live segregated lives, so in chapters 2 and 3 believers are encouraged to work in environments where they will encounter nonbelievers.

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Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on May 22, 2016.

Book Of Wisdom - Nicholas Roerich
Book Of Wisdom – Nicholas Roerich

There are two ways to travel through life.  Either we travel as though we are riding in “bumper cars” at the state fair, or we travel as though we are driving on a freeway.  To borrow a phrase from Robert Frost, which one we choose will make “all the difference.”  Bumper cars travel on a round or oval 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 freeway 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.

The wisdom writer of Proverbs had a more poetic way of expressing that same truth.  Proverbs 7 and Proverbs 8 stand in stark contrast to one another as they describe two different ways to go through life.  After writing twenty-seven verses in Proverbs 7 to paint a dark and terrifying picture of the false attractions and costly consequences of sin (personified by the female adulteress), the author then contrasts such a life with thirty-six verses in Proverbs 8 that are as bright and fulfilling as the former ones are dull and tragic.  Rather than a life of sin, the writer proclaims the virtuous and healthy attributes of a life of righteousness (personified by Wisdom).

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