I have a strange confession. I like thinking of Wisdom as God’s partner and companion. If I wanted to slide into my weird and hardwired gender language I could call Wisdom God’s wife, and yet a person apart from the Trinity.

I am not entirely missing the mark, even if I am a bit too fanciful in my imaginings. Proverbs 8:25 continues the poetic early life of Wisdom, and states that Wisdom was made first. So Wisdom is then, in a way, a consort of God’s.

Wisdom can also be compared to the person of Jesus, a personage both firmly rooted here on earth but also intimately aware of the realm, time and economy of God’s realm. Just as Wisdom has built her house with its seven pillars, Jesus the Word has become incarnate and built a body (house?) for himself.

I wonder if you could tell your people about Wisdom, I find her a fascinating character. In these weeks of so much bread, bread, bread would it be a worthwhile break to explore this interesting person who claims to have been at God’s side when the world was created?

Photo Credit:
Morgan Winston via Unsplash

We can talk about Jesus and Wisdom don’t preach fire and brimstone, rather they invite and beckon us to their tables (very similar tables, laden with bread and wine) to offer us a different path, the way of life and real discipleship. Wisdom and Jesus provide examples and patterns for us, modeling what it looks like to respond to God and God’s law.

The last days of summer are upon us; in the United States our weather is hot, oppressively humid, at times stormy and dangerous. Is now the time to call our people again to the table? To ask them to recommit to being disciples of Jesus? How does that look, in your own context? What relief and cool blessing is received at the altar rail, where we all come to a glorious banquet like the one Wisdom, and our Jesus offer?

Scholar Bill Coffin wrote in his book, Credo, “We are on the road to heaven now if today we walk with God. Eternal life is not a possession conferred at death; it is a present endowment. We live it now, and continue it through death.”

This is perhaps a very different approach to the concept of eternal life than what most of our people have been exposed to or thought about. And yet if we really look at the words of Jesus throughout the canon of scripture there isn’t a point where Jesus says that followers have to die physical deaths to be granted life eternal. In the gospel reading from John, Jesus is inviting his followers to eat it RIGHT NOW, he says, “whoever eats this bread will live forever”.

We can choose to enter into the strange realm of words like eternal, co-existing, co-creating, always happening. If we choose to go this way let us be clear about what it looks like for Jesus to be always with us and yet sitting at the right hand of God. How is Christ present to us in the Eucharist?

In the same way Jesus says “the one who eats this bread will live forever” our own Eucharistic feasts combines not only the strange elements of eating flesh and drinking blood, but also the eternal Jesus dropping into our finite world, observing our altar linens and our hearts all at once. If eternal life is happening to us and all around us all the time… well what does that mean?

Is this a good opportunity to ask if we are heeding the invitation Wisdom offers and Jesus enacts? Are we placing our lives, our faith, in things that finite and not eternal? Someday our countries will no longer exist, some day the world won’t look like it does now; already the childhood many of us remember is not the childhood my children are living.

We are being asked to choose again, to turn again, to eat again; to recognize the eternal life that lives inside of us now, and to live accordingly.

Alicia Hager resides in West Michigan and is a Postulant to the Sacred Order of Priests in the Episcopal Church. Alicia enjoys spending time with her daughters and her husband, is bonkers about her cats, and blogs at astrawberrypointe.wordpress.com.

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2 thoughts on “RCL: Proper 15 Year B – What is eternal?

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