(Posted May 21, 2016)
How many times during this glorious week in May did you walk right past God without noticing?
If there’s one thing that has been a casualty of our super-efficient modern living, it is the Art of Noticing. Somehow we’ve come to equate the act of taking a few minutes or hours or even a day to simply “be” as an act of waste. Even a sinful act if there is no “product.” Our Puritanical forebears would have embraced it as a sign of the Protestant work ethic’s discipline.
However, it wasn’t always so, nor did every Protestant give it the same weight. I remember clearly how I envied my friends who worked at Readers Digest in Pleasantville, N.Y., in the 70s and 80s - the days that Dewitt Wallace and Lila Acheson Wallace were co-chairs of what was at the time, one of the most influential publications in the world. The Wallaces -- both of them the children of Protestant ministers – had one special rule observed by all employees: Every Friday in May was reserved for a day off for all. The reason for this was simple. Because it is May, and the world is coming alive. And, they felt, if their people weren’t free to walk among the budding trees, and spend time nourishing their souls, those moments would be lost forever.
Consider it, if you will, a particular brand of Wisdom that moved the Wallaces to think this way. With no children to leave their fortune to, Lila in particular patronized the arts, even restoring Monet’s home at Giverny to honor the man who could capture in a still pond a universe of beauty.
Wisdom. This Sunday we will visit Wisdom in the work of Proverbs. Far from a feminist re-writing of Scripture Wisdom AKA Spirit, has since ancient times always been viewed as a female, nurturing aspect of the Trinity. “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: ‘To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.” It was the Spirit’s breath that blew across the waters at creation. And it is still Wisdom/Spirit we feel from within, and especially when, on a fine May day we peer into the spiral center of a flower. A spiral that echoes the spiral form of galaxies and star systems in the night sky, and in a single strand of DNA. Creation at its finest where we encounter God, if we only take the time.
So on this Trinity Sunday, this Jazz Sunday, we will practice a little Wisdom of our own, and simply be, and feel. Come explore with us. (Mister Gary will be back with his brand of Bible magic to help take us on the journey.) - Pastor Pat Kriss