Our lessons are about wisdom.
The whole notion of wisdom in the Bible
grew out of crafts like tent making and carpentry.
Craftsmen learned that you can do things well or badly.
There is a right way to go about our work.
As time went by they came to see that life itself is craft.
Life can be lived well or badly.
Wisdom is simply the art of living well.
Much of the Bible is about how to live well.
Living well helps us sleep at night, get along with our friends,
and make the world around us a better place.
But many of us have the notion that wisdom must
be something very solemn.
It must frown and look very serious.
Wisdom is always wagging its finger at our foolishness.
But in today’s Epistle lesson Paul paints a different picture of wisdom.
“Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise.
Do not get drunk . . . But be filled with the Spirit as you sing
Psalms and spiritual hymns among yourselves,
singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks to God . . . at all times and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The first thing to see here is that wisdom isn’t a solemn lecture.
It’s a song.
Wisdom is something pleasurable, like a melody in the heart.
Wisdom isn’t dour and judging. It’s a playful thing like music.
The second thing to notice about wisdom
is that it recognizes a basic truth about reality.
It’s a gift. It’s all a gift.
The fact that there is something rather than nothing is a gift.
The sunrise and the moonset are gifts.
The friendship of another person is a gift.
Our very ability to breathe, to laugh, to touch another person’s hand –
it’s all a gift.
There is a wise way and a foolish way to handle wood.
It’s starts by recognizing it as wood and not copper.
There is a wise way and a foolish way to handle life.
In order to handle life wisely,
we must first see it for what it is -- a gift.
Paul was writing in Greek and the Greek word for gift is charis.
What shall we do with this gift of life, this gift of everything.
Obviously, Paul says, we say “thank you.”
In our lesson where Paul says “giving thanks,”
he uses the Greek word eucharistein.
That’s where we get the Eucharist.
But Eucharist in the Greek isn’t just a word.
It isn’t just a thank you note on pretty stationery.
Eucharist means a gift back, a return gift.
God has given us our very selves.
In thanksgiving for that fundamental primal generosity of God,
we give something to God in kind.
We give God ourselves.
This is the great gift exchange of the spiritual life.
God gives us our lives.
We give our lives back to God.
We place ourselves on this altar
to be blessed, broken, and given back to us
enriched by love and grace and mercy.
St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed,
“Accept O Lord my memory, my will, my imagination, my understanding.
All that I am and all that I have you have given me.
I give it all back to be disposed of according to your good pleasure.
Grant me only the comfort of your presence and the joy of your love.
With these I shall be more than rich and shall ask for nothing more.”
That, my friends, is the core meaning of the Eucharist.And it is the heart of wisdom.