As I have done in previous Lents I am sharing a daily reflection as part of my Lenten discipline. This year I am using the “Wilderness Wanderings” theme compiled by the “Lent Photo a Day” group. The word appointed for today is “Wise.”
I have a number of wise family and friends. I also know a number of wise people in person and online. If I have learned anything from these people, it might be this: never presume that you have all the answers, and always be willing to take a step back to ask a question or calm yourself, especially in the heat of the moment.
I am reminded of the gospel story of Jesus and “The Woman Caught in Adultery,” found in the Gospel of John 8:1-11. Responding to the legal precedent of sin and justice, Jesus proclaimed, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Naturally, at that, everyone gradually left. No one present in the crowd whom Jesus was addressing was without sin. To me today, that is the first story I am reminded of when it comes to being wise.
As people we can often get caught up in our way of thinking as the “right” way and the only way. I am just as guilty and susceptible to this as well. Watching social media over the weekend was horrifying in seeing some of the responses to Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing. Though I hardly ever agreed with his reasoning or viewpoints, I appreciated his willingness to clearly articulate his beliefs, to engage in conversation, and to be able to befriend and be in relationship with those he publicly disagreed. I read a story about him from David Axelrod about his hope to have Justice Kagan on the Supreme Court. It was an enlightening story which I think speaks to the importance of having a diversity of perspectives on the court, and really in any decision making process. If we all have the same view point, we get caught in our ways of thinking. We get tunnel vision, and sometimes lose sight of other perspectives, possibilities, and needs. At its best, a court and legislature reflects this principle by offering different viewpoints, but being able and willing to work through these viewpoints for the common good.
As a Christian and Lutheran, I think this is a good reminder to know that we don’t have all the answers. It’s also a good reminder to why its essential to partner with and accompany with others, and to listen. All of these pieces are crucial for being in relationship, for building relationships, and being about the work of discerning where God is leading and how we might be part of God’s work and the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.
Thinking about your own lives, who is someone wise that you look to? What makes them wise?