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:
- Wisdom is a gift, received only by humility, and learned through life experience. Children may say things that are honest, insightful, possibly even wise, but they don’t own wisdom.
- Wisdom parses knowledge and experience, able to analyze and to integrate. It brings an ethical perspective that knowledge does not necessarily bear.
- Wisdom is highly practical, guiding decisions large and small.
- Wisdom is, at the same time, highly intuitive. It may or may not “make sense,” even as it is practical. Intuitive wisdom doesn’t require particularly great intellect or education; intuition resides in the body, not in lofty zones beyond our reach.
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.