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Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Throughout the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is often seen personified as a woman who does not shy away from walking among the people in order to convey her message. In Proverbs 1:20 (1) “Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice.” In the passage for Trinity Sunday from Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Wisdom is again see willing to walk in the streets. Specifically in Proverbs 8:1-3 (2):

Does not wisdom call,     and does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights, beside the way,     at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town,     at the entrance of the portals she cries out:

S.J. Lennox wrote about Wisdom’s willingness to walk around among the people. He wrote:

She chooses to move where the throng is thickest so as to gain maximum impact. Such a pedestrian beginning is striking. “A chapter which is to soar beyond time and space,” said one commentator, “opens at street level, to make it clear … that the wisdom of God is as relevant to the shopping centre … as to heaven itself.…” Wisdom’s aggressiveness here reminds us that our “search” for wisdom is, in fact, a response to wisdom’s search for us. (3)

On Trinity Sunday what an important reminder that wisdom searches for people. Some equate Wisdom with the Holy Spirit, but in Proverbs 8:22, which reads, “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago” (4), it is evident that Wisdom and the Holy Spirit are not the same. Although it is appropriate to see Wisdom as an attribute of the Triune God. As such it is beautiful to think about the fact that the Triune God searches for and desires to be in relationship with humanity. All throughout Scripture there is evidence that God comes to humanity in desire for relationship. There are no demands made by God. In fact, throughout Scripture the people of God fail time and time again and yet God continued to come to humanity for relationship.

God bent low to the earth, picked up dirt, and formed the first human. God the Son, Jesus, humbled himself to the form of a human, walked among humans on the earth, in order to create a way for deep and restorative relationship to take place between God and humanity. Last Sunday was Pentecost and the church around the world remembered and celebrated the gift of the God the Holy Spirit poured out upon the disciples and made available to all who respond to the grace of God. All of these instances of the Triune God coming to humanity is reinforced by the imagery of Wisdom walking the streets and declaring her message.

The passage skips ahead to verses 22-31 and begins to paint a picture of Wisdom’s participation in creation. There is a beautiful undertone here that reminds humanity of the call to care for and work toward the restoration of creation. Wisdom calls herself a “delight” to God in verse 30. It is a beautiful reminder that not only is humanity invited into relationship with the Triune God, but also that Wisdom is not an enemy. Wisdom is beautiful and delightful. Wisdom can be freeing and is a beautiful gift given to all who would take the time to listen and learn from her.

On this Trinity Sunday may we remember the beauty of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  May we remember the joy and delight of Wisdom.  May we remember that Wisdom is a gift and that she can help us be full of joy and delight in the Triune God.

(1)NRSV.

(2) NRSV.

(3) Lennox, S. J. (1998). Proverbs: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (p. 77). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.

(4) NRSV.

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