Friday, May 28, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

Friday, May 28, 2010 -- Week of Proper 3, Year Two
John Calvin, Theologian, 1564

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 969)
Psalms 31 (morning)       35 (evening)
Proverbs 23:19-21, 29-24:2
1 Timothy 5:17-22(23-25)
Matthew 13:31-35

First, a note about the new feast today from the proposed calendar Holy Women, Holy Men:
John Calvin [1509-May 27, 1564] Reformer and theologian in France and Geneva, his writings were the primary influence on non-Lutheran Protestants. He established a theocracy in Geneva, Switzerland, with himself as its head. The Reformed Tradition of Churches (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Reformed Church of America, etc.) counts him as their founder. (May 28)

Proverbs:  "Do not be among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat...  Who has woe?  Who has sorrow?  ...Who has redness of eyes?  Those who linger late over wine...."

1 Timothy:  "No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments."

The wisdom and practical advice of Proverbs urges a young noble to live a disciplined life of moderation.  Gluttony in all of its forms has its own consequences. 

In many ways, portions of 1 Timothy pick up the same tradition as Proverbs, intending to offer sage advice and wisdom to a still young, but maturing church.  The elders who lead well are to be paid and respected.  There is a provision for dealing with disciplinary issues.  Both writings presume that justice and virtue will prevail over time. 

Picking up the mantle of wisdom, Jesus too teaches in proverbs.  Like a master teacher he adds drama and illustration to his instruction, offering his insights through parables.  The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed..., like yeast, ...a pearl of great value.  In the tradition of the proverbial wisdom, Jesus points toward the small things that yield big consequences.  Virtues practiced for their own sake do indeed have their rewards. 

Virtue, discipline and moderation.  These are subjects that sometimes do not have a lot of sex appeal or entertainment value.  Reading Proverbs and 1 Timothy can feel a bit tedious, especially compared with the drama of the passion of the Psalms or the narratives of the Gospels.  But there is great value in the traditions of pithy wisdom. 

Maybe it is no coincidence that some of the greatest proverbial wisdom of the twentieth century comes from the spirituality of the twelve-step recovery traditions.  We see Proverbs and 1 Timothy address the powerful destructive tendencies of gluttony and addiction.  In our age, recovery disciplines have offered some of our wisest collections of proverbs for living with virtue, discipline and moderation:

Let go and let God.  One day at a time.  First things first.  Live and let live.  Time takes time.  Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.  Live life on life's terms.  You can't think your way into a new way of living... you have to live your way into a new way of thinking.  Your worth should never depend on another person's opinion.  Learn to listen and listen to learn.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Feelings are not facts.  Progress, not perfection.  Keep it simple.  This too shall pass.  Easy does it.  Keep coming back.

Pearls of wisdom.  They are much more than ornaments or decoration.  


Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home