“Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square.”
Our spiritual theme for community exploration this month is wisdom. Theme-based ministry invites the entire congregation to reflect upon universal themes of religious life in creative ways each month. Wisdom is an important subject considered in all of the great religious traditions of the world. In Jewish scriptures, Chokmâh is personified as Lady Wisdom.
In the Book of Proverbs, it is written: “When there was yet no ocean I was born, no springs brimming with water. Before the mountains were settled in their place, long before the hills I was there…When the heavens were set in their place…I was at the divine’s side each day…” and “Those who love me I love, those who search for me find me…my path is that path of justice.” Wisdom is personified as the beloved of the divine, the guardian of righteousness and justice, and as an inherent dimension of existence. Many feminist religious scholars have embraced Lady Wisdom as the divine feminine in Jewish and Christian religious teachings.
When I reflect on wisdom, I instantly think of my grandmother. A Polish immigrant, she had to cross the seas with her family following World War II and learned to survive in a foreign land where she did not speak the language. Overcoming many obstacles, she did not allow life’s hardships to make her bitter but shared an abundance of love with the generations that followed her. Like many who live to a ripe old age, the experiences of life and its challenges hopefully cultivate a wisdom we can share with the generations that follow us.
Wisdom isn’t simply learned knowledge or an innate intelligence but something more expansive and holistic. We can accumulate a lot of knowledge and be very intelligent and still not be wise. Susanne Schaup explains in Sophia: Aspects of the Divine Feminine: “Wisdom goes beyond knowledge. It asks questions about the meaning and purpose of knowledge, about the responsibility of our accumulated knowledge to a higher authority.” Wisdom might be defined as our capacities to integrate experience, knowledge, intelligence, insights, and values. It has communal dimensions as well given that it is something we typically learn from others and share with others.
Let us cultivate wisdom in our beloved community this month and in all months. We are privileged and blessed to have a community with so many different people who contribute to our collective experience. Let us remember to seek out the wisdom of others and to listen more often than we speak. Let us cherish our elders and our ancestors and remember what they have taught us. Let us learn from the richness of our great spiritual tradition and find meaning, purpose, and happiness for our lives. Let us listen for the voice of Lady Wisdom in our lives and attend to her call.
With love and gratitude,
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae