Day 17 – Wisdom

Day 17 – Wisdom

Isaiah 40: 1-11; 28-31.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

 

O Wisdom, uttered by the mouth of the most high, and reaching to the ends of the earth, come and teach us the way of prudence

 

Love, You alone know the ways of truth. When I know not a thing, You alone know the way. If it were not for You, chaos and fear would reign my heart.  When I am filled with doubt – in You or in myself– OR when I am filled with knowing too much, You alone shake me clean and stir me awake to what is most Sacred in me.* 

 

O Love, I let go into You. You beyond my understanding. You beyond my seeing and my doing. Beyond my striving to get it right, to make it happen. Beyond my attempts at control. I let myself be small, human, and weak. Let something bigger than me be in control. Your perspective and your power cannot be fully grasped by me. My hope lay not in my own hands…in my earning or my doing….but in Your Love alone.

 

 

When expression (making Love visible) becomes

      requirement rather than overflowing,

      when action is rooted to duty not in heart,

      when dedicated practice, rather devotion to Love, becomes the goal,        

      when our ‘doing’ flows not from our ‘being’,

we become as ‘clanging symbols’.

 

These balances can be fragile and can quickly break into obligation when the One for whom we are striving gets lost in the striving itself. Then action, duty, or practice itself becomes a god – and the icon that was once a window opening out slams shut to become an idol. We are lost in our small selves, unable to see ‘the bigger picture’ that repentance brought.

 

There is a delicate balance to any man-made structure. Too much rigidity…external rules and internal compulsions… and it will break. Too little foundation – intentionality and attention — and it will fall apart and be an unfit/unsafe dwelling place. Moreover, we must take care not to confuse the dwelling place with the One who dwells within. To be overly concerned at the way the vessel looks at the expense of the precious substance it contains, or to cease to take proper care with the container are both to be unmindful.  

 

Again, the Christmas story reminds us that a womb is an adequate vessel both for growing Love, and for being the place from which Love will overflow. It is flexible (it makes room for an elbow at any given moment), it is receptive and nurturing to growth, AND it is contained and protected, Dark. Internal. Private. It provides a space for Love to grow in its own unique way. No two children from that womb will look the same.

 

When we are growing weary, strained and stressed by all our striving, by all that we ‘should’ be or do or look, we are reminded in today’s readings to put our hope not in ourselves, but in the One who dwells within. Trust in Love alone.  This subtle, yet profound, shift in focus clears the path, makes the ways straight, the mountains low, the valleys high, and the rough spots smooth so that what is to be revealed, in and through and to us ,will be revealed. To look for Love alone is to keep our hearts aligned and open. It is a matter of attention….not to self-performance….but to Love.

 

 

Then we are promised we ‘will not grow weary in our pursuits, we will not faint from fatigue, but will soar as eagles’. Imagine the freedom in that! I once dreamt that I was the caretaker of a flock of eagles. Each day I would go and let them out to fly once around the house, but then I would quickly pack them back into the box where I kept them. In today’s scripture, I hear again the invitation to let them out of confinement!

 

We are also promised that what is weak in us will be given power and courage and strength while what is powerful may need to be humbled (understood as human) or die away. What is strong in many of us is our self-reliance, which, if we are honest, we know is based in fear. (We are a nation of self-reliants!) And if we are honest then we can allow that part to be received by grace so that we can let go of that defense grace-fully. What is weak in many of us is our ability to trust in Love and its power. Our hungry need for assurance…from God and human… is evident in so many places in our lives.

 

O what shall we cry, Love?

 

Cry out to the weary one in us, Here is Love! Do not be afraid! Love’s reward is Love! This weak, suckling part of us can trust in Love to gather us in and lead us. O, listen to this tenderness…. ‘You have paid enough. You are enough. You can let go. Let Love enter in to reign’

 

To listen to Love is also to listen for Wisdom in both our being and our doing. There is an Eternal One in each of us who has joined hands with time within these blessed vessels that we are here in this place. Our lives are both containers and deliverers of Love. This Eternal ‘Old’ Soul within us is the voice of Wisdom. We are called to sit in this place and listen … to what needs to be let go of, to what is longing to be released, to die or to flow forth, to what is important. It is through this Eye that we ‘see beyond the mind’ that gets caught up in its anxieities and fears.

 

Yet in even this, even if we have ‘not enough’ strength of heart to bring ourselves to sit with Love, we are promised that Love will come find us….without our doing anything at all. Love will search for us, gather those who scattered during days of darkness, and bring us to a land of rich nourishment. Love will search out the lost, heal the wounded, stengthen the weak.  The unjust man-made rulers within will be dissolved by Love, like the grass and the flowers of the previous passage, will wither away when their fear is no longer fed, when we are instead fed at the breast of Love.

 

There is much here today about letting go. Letting go into Love. Clearing those paths of our agendas, our ‘knowledge’, our ideas and our strivings, and letting ourselves be held by Love. Be nurtured by Love. Be guided by Love. Let the virginal womb be entered by Love….

 

Into Your hands…..

Thy will be done…..

Be it done to me according to your Word…..

 

 

*Psalm 124—Nan Merrill

 

If it were not for You, O Beloved, you who make all things new

fear and chaos would reign in every heart.

In You will I trust

When doubt threatens to overwhelm and separate me,

when anger makes me blind

then you, O Merciful One, are ever-ready

to awaken the holy, the sacred in me

Then do your living streams of Grace enfold me

 

Blessed are You, who are a very Presence to us, a comfort to troubled hearts!

Grant us the strength of eagle wings, the courage to soar to new heights

Break within us the bonds of fear that we may live in Love!

Our Guidance comes from You, O Counselor

Blessed are You, O giver of Life!

Beloved of my heart!

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