February 12, 2021

Weaving Beauty

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and swerve from evil.
Proverbs 3:7 (Robert Alter translation)
Wisdom is one of the most important attributes of God in the Hebrew Bible. Though wisdom's definitions are manifold, one of the most important ways to understand it is to think of creativity—the power to order raw materials in such a way that something beautiful or helpful is the result. Since wisdom and creation are so closely connected, all wisdom ultimately comes from God. Thus, to think of ourselves as wise without dependence on God is delusion. 

Human creativity takes many forms, of course. Art, handwork, speech, thought, music, science... any time we use our God-given abilities to bring order out of chaos, we are using the gift of wisdom. The measure of our creativity, therefore, is the extent to which it glorifies the original Creator, and the ways in which it edifies or inspires our fellow humans.

Our prayer should be to discern God's wisdom in our own lives and in the life of our community. Though we should reflect on how true we are to God in what we do, we are seldom—if ever—in a position to judge another's creativity; for God is at work within each of us, weaving beauty out of coarseness and complex patterns out of simplicity. 

All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride.
 Galatians 6:4
After thinking about today's devotion, pray these hymn lyrics:
Lord, we know that you are near us,
though you seem to hide your face;
and are sure that you do hear us,
though no answer we embrace.

O the wondrous loving-kindness
planning, working out of sight,
bearing with us in our blindness,
out of darkness bringing light.

Weaving blessings out of trials,
out of grief evolving bliss;
answering prayer by wise denials
when your children ask amiss.
✙ 
And when faith shall end in vision,
and when prayer is lost in praise,
then shall love, in full fruition,
justify your secret ways.
✙ Jane F. Crewd­son (alt.)
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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