Wisdom was the theme of our Worship on the Lawn in August. When Solomon became king of Israel after his father David, he dreamed that God offered him whatever he asked, and he asked for wisdom. A wise choice for someone charged with governing a nation, especially as he may have been as young as twenty. Of course, the story leaves out how he ruthlessly consolidated his power just before this dream, and how he didn’t always take the wise course of action as king. But in this story, and other readings we explored, we learned a few things about wisdom, such as:
Leah Chase is a wise woman who survived Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Leah has been cooking in the kitchen of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant for nearly seventy years, except for the two years after Katrina when the business was closed. She has remarkable wisdom, born of ninety-two years of living. Her insights into faith and hope, work, community, belonging, the future, and more, can be heard in this interview by Lizzie O’Leary of American Public Media’s Marketplace Weekend.
May you seek wisdom wherever it may be found, and live it.
Are you a “daily devotional” reader? What works for you?
Publications like “The Upper Room” or “Our Daily Bread” have been widely read for years. I believe one of the reasons they “work” for many persons is the structure, which is based upon the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina (“holy reading”). These follow the pattern of reading a short scripture passage, reflecting upon it, and offering up prayer.
For some persons, however, these publications are too restrictive, either in theological interpretation or in structure. In actual practice, lectio divina allows for a flow between meditation upon a reading (i.e., active engagement), contemplation (i.e., setting aside active engagement and simply holding oneself in the presence of the Holy), and prayer (i.e., offering up to God whatever kind of words arise). While lectio divina is usually applied to scripture, it can be any kind of reading.
As in ancient times, a wide variety of books are available for “spiritual reading.” Many are published as a one-year cycle, often selections of a particular author. More recent authors whose works are fresh, inclusive, and carry spiritual depth include Henri Nouwen, Madeleine L’Engle, Mark Nepo, and Joyce Rupp. Poetry, both contemporary and classic, sacred and secular, and from many spiritual traditions, also feeds the spirit. What works for you?
If you have a book that has nurtured you spiritually as a daily discipline, tell us about it. Provide title and author and 1-3 sentences about the style or content, and send it to Pilgrim Church at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish suggestions in this blog and in our newsletter, to help each other find new resources for our spiritual growth. We look forward to discovering new books to tend our spirits.