Today's Reading: Job 24-28
Blessedly for me, in the middle of the book of Job is a "Sabbath" if you will, from the long, troubled ponderings of Job and his friends. Hallelujah for chapter 28--A short discourse on Wisdom!
Knowing that I am reading from what is called "Wisdom literature " in the Old Testatment (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiates, some Psalms, some of Song of Solomon), my spiritual director gave me a book called, The Wisdom Jesus by Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault.
The wisdom discourse in Job speaks of a great and mysterious treasure hunt for Wisdom--chakam. I immediately thought of Jesus' wisdom about asking, seeking and knocking; his stories about the kingdom of God being like valuable treasure, which all led me to a very interesting passage. The Gospel of Thomas, a manuscript recovered in 1945 amid the Nag Hammadi scrolls, has this version of the familiar ask, seek, knock passage:
If you are searching,
You must not stop until you find.
When you find, however,
You will become troubled.
Your confusion will give way to wonder.
In wonder you will reign over all things.
Your sovereignty will be at rest.
"Seek and you shall find" sounds simple enough, but for those of us who have been disciples for quite some time, this seems like the abridged, Reader's Digest version of a very complex and arguous search.
Bourgeault writes, "Seeking leads to finding, yes, but the result of that finding is often to plunge you into confusion and disorientation as the new information rattles the cage of your old paradigm. Only gradually, as you can make room for what this gospel calls 'wonder,' does a new universe begin to knit itself together around you, and you come to rest on a new foundation. Until the next go around."
This rings true for me in my experience. Wisdom and truth sometimes find me when I'm not seeking them, and send me into a flood not unlike Noah's experience. It takes me to a new place, and after a lot of tossing and turning, lands me on its own Mt. Ararat.
Imagine the troubling thoughts of the religious Jews of Jesus' day. The spirit within them recognized the truth he spoke, but their souls screamed in defiance..."He's changing everything!" Remember the phrases of Jesus? "You've heard it said...but I say..."
Those who allowed their confusion to turn to wonder were transformed. The "blind" who were unable to "see" with their own eyes (Job 28:21) were told to become like a child, be born again/anew, live counter culturally. Love enemies, forgive those who persecute you, feed widows and orphans, live selflessly, don't worry, leave everything and "follow me."
"God understands Wisdom's path,
God knows Wisdom's place...
and to Mortals God said,
'Behold, the fear of the LORD,
that is Wisdom;
And to depart from evil
is understanding.'" 28:28
And when the Wisdom of God, even Jesus Christ himself, lands me upon a solid rock and lowers the anchor of hope to hold me fast in the storm, I do find rest. I do experience the freedom of Sabbath. I do feel once again within my Sovereign's control.
For one day, for one moment. Until the Master calls, "Ok, time to pick up the mat and move on to the next quest, the next lesson, the next treasure hunt."