As promised in my special edition email on Tuesday, I have kept a noontime hour vigil in the sanctuary this week, starting on Tuesday itself, concluding tomorrow. With meditative music and sounds, lit candles, and the sounds of traffic passing on main street, these quiet hours are a far cry from Woman Wisdom in Proverbs crying out in the street, exhorting people to turn from simplicity and foolishness. This week, our texts focus on Wisdom, wise living, and good practice, practices of faith, yes, but chiefly practices of sensible, other-centric, ways of being.
We have a hard time, in our culture, living for others, unless those others are our own children, in which case culture dictates parents should revolve their own lives around keeping children involved with various activities. In other words, our culture encourages adults to indulge every whim, every fantasy, but on a solo level. The emphasis is on enjoyment, not joining together, except for specific causes. Even this joining, though, is on a personal basis, and when the cause du jour wanes, so does involvement with the cause. There is no true staying power. Parents are a special case. Instead of living for their own adult selves, culturally parents are encouraged or shamed into living for their kids, participate in an over-packed schedule of activities. On the one hand, the youth in question would not participate in activities they found uninteresting, but the schedules are still over-packed with a plethora of activities. There is no time to rest as a family; there is little encouragement for parents to participate in organizations they may find supportive, soul-filling or satisfying. Regardless, we all have a tendency to lead simple, foolish lives, and as a result become over stressed, over run, and unable to see the outstretched hand of Wisdom as she offers a different way to live.
The ways of Wisdom are foolish to the simple, laughable to the scoffers, and incomprehensible to those caught up in the ways of this world.
Sitting vigil in our sanctuary this week has given me ample opportunity to meditate on the evils of this world, how we have culturally reached places where we commit evil against one another and panic when calamities swirl like a whirlwind. The exercise also reminded me, though, that for every calamity, there are those who listen, and have listened, to the ways of Wisdom, and have used Wisdom’s teachings to form a way of life. Christian practices are part of these ways, but not exclusively. Wisdom's ways are as simple as ordinary people searching together for specific ways of taking part in the practice of God - acting towards the world lovingly as God would do.
This week, I have sat in remembrance vigil of persons who has been affected by atrocious acts of violence that we humans perpetuate against each other, but simultaneously I sit in vigil remembering all the helpers, all the people who have and will join together to live in the ways of Wisdom, caring for God’s people.