The Voyage of Wonder

Proverbs 8:1-10, 22-31

[watch sermon here]

There’s an air of playfulness about Woman Wisdom.
She relishes being in God’s presence, always.
God delights in spending time with her.
Woman Wisdom rejoices in the earth as mountains erupt into place,
and seas splash the shorelines.

She finds herself in the busiest parts of the city.
She stands at the gate as people walk in and out.

“Come and listen!” she cries out,
“I am plain speaking and truthful. Gather round.
The wisdom I have to offer outsparkles jewels, and jewelry.”

She’s calling to us.
Christ echoes these words at the beginning of ministry.
Calling forth the disciples in the Gospel of John,
Christ cries out, “Come and see.”

Come and see.
Come and listen.
Come and perceive.

There’s a deeper reality to which Christ calls us.
There’s a deeper reality to which Woman Wisdom calls us.

Woman Wisdom is also called Sophia.
That is the Greek word for wisdom.

Sophia, in today’s passage, is sometimes thought of as Christ,
or the second-person of the Trinity.

In the Gospel of John, we read that,
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Christ is the Word that was with God since the beginning.
Through and with Christ, all things were made.
Likewise, Sophia was with God since the beginning;
through and with Sophia, all things were made.

The idea of Christ as Sophia started early on.
There is a church dedicated to Christ in Constantinople
called Haggia Sophia, Holy Wisdom.
Early church father Origen called Jesus the Word,
and Wisdom-Sophia interchangeably.

Theologian Thomas Aquinas said that in Jesus
God’s wisdom became human.

Christ-Sophia beckons us to a life of wisdom.
Christ-Sophia calls us to a life well-lived.

Come and see.
Come and listen.
Come and perceive.

How do we perceive the gems of wisdom around us?

Theologian Thomas Aquinas says that is not that
we need to think harder, or know more.

To be wise, we need to encounter God.
Wondrous God. Beautiful God.
God beyond our understanding.

Aquinas invites us to contemplate beauty, particularly the beauty of God.
That we might be immersed in it. And moved by it.

Sophia models this for us as she delights in God,
rejoicing in fields of wildflowers, and splashing in oceans.
Immersing ourselves in beauty
creates within us a longing to participate in the creative process.

Sophia beckons us into this world of discovery.
She calls us to a universe where light shoots through our galaxy
faster than we can comprehend.
She invites us to the deep sea,
where sea creatures, weird and wonderful,
swim in hidden depths.
She leads us into the forest where trees can talk – to each other! –
through the fungus networks that connect their roots.

There’s something magical going on in this great earth of ours.

Come and pay attention.

Wisdom stands at the gate, where everyone passes by.

Hello! Wisdom cries out to the passersby.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to make your life happier.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to make your spirit sing again.
Find me. Come to my gate. Don’t pass me by.
Don’t starve yourself of this beauty, this goodness that is for you.
Come to the more. Approach the more. Approach the increase.

Imagine Wisdom-Sophia who saw the water spill into the oceans
and the mosses and plants creep onto the land.
She brings to us an expansion of consciousness.

Wisdom opens us to possibility. This is what Christ does.
Christ stands at the marketplaces and the city gates, and cries out to us.

Love and wisdom shape each other.

Thomas Aquinas reminds us that
love needs to be transformed by wisdom
and wisdom needs to be transformed by love.

This cry of Christ-Sophia is not just about love.

The question Christ-Sophia poses to us is:
How do we love shrewdly?
How do we love in a way that orders a just world?
How do we love truthfully?

How do we love mystery?
Within us? Within others?
How do we love God when we can’t understand all of who God is?

Our curiosity unlocks something inside us.
It brings us to the vast universe that God desires for us.

Christ-Sophia accompanies us on this voyage of wonder.
Voyaging into the unknown is about construction. Creation. Integration.
When we consent to the ongoing activity of God,
we will find what is to be found.
We will stumble upon the revealing of God.
The reveling of God. The ongoing joy of God.

Christ-Sophia thrills at watching our souls open like roses.
Our souls are like budding flowers.
We don’t quite know what they become.
What the petals will be like. Or what the aroma will smell like.

What will happen? What they become?
I imagine God-Sophia wondering excitedly.

The excitement contained in the Proverbs passage
makes me think of my own excitement of watching spring unfold last year.

In the winter of 2021,
I stumbled upon the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts.
A living tree museum.

In the winter of 2021, the witch hazel bushes
sparkled with bright yellow and red flowers
as they bloomed in the winter months.

Then soon, the fuzzy catkins of the rose-gold pussy willows peaked out,
and the snowdrops and crocuses covered the land.
I started going every week. Hooked. What would happen?
The fuzz of the catkins gave way to gold and then red pollen spikes
that made the catkins looked like red-gold groovy caterpillars.
Horse chestnuts cracked open their pink buds
leaving behind shells that looked like shrimp skins, as their leaves burst forth.
The fringe tree literally decorated itself with stringy fringe.
The dove tree created two white petals for its flower;
when the two petals flapped in the wind, it looked like a dove;
these doves covered the tree.

The plants riveted me.
I would drive round trip to Boston each Friday
so I could find out what happened next in these plants’ lives.

The becoming mesmerized me in a world that felt stuck.

Out of my small narrow life,
playful Sophia beckoned me forth to see fullness.

Slowly, I began to realize
that fullness that can live inside of us, too.

That kind of amazingness lives within our flesh and skin.

We are each a work of art.
Seas of mystery swim within us;
we are filled, too, with the weird and wonderful.

We don’t know what we will become,
but the becoming will be beautiful.

This is the promise God gives to us.
Your life beckons. I wanna know!
What will it look like?

Going to therapy and finding your healing journey?
Taking a risk and doing things that brings you more joy?
Accompanying someone through something hard
and discovering the deep love that binds you together?
Daring to speak the truth and setting yourself free?

It is not always easy to voyage with wonder.
Wonders requires us to pass through the seasons of life.

There will be time when we lose everything, like autumn.
And things we cherish fall to the ground like leaves.
There will be times like winter when it feels like we are all just frozen in place, and it feels like that cold is never going to end.
Yet, when we open ourselves up to the spirit,
we consent to the work of Christ-Sophia,
we start to discover the buds and shoots
that can burst from us.
Ones we never even knew we had.


There is a generative force within you.
There is a generative force in the earth.

Sophia beckons us to have confidence in this beauty. In glory.
Confidence in truth. The truth of transformation.
Of what happens when we encounter Mystery.

Christ beckons us in the Gospels.
We witness Christ stop and just really enjoy people’s presence.
Christ witnesses to what is unfolding within them.
Christ believes something will unfurl,
even when the people can’t believe it for themselves.

Come and see.
Come and listen.
Come and perceive.


For if you are child, your frontal cortex is still forming.
For, if you are an adult, you make think
that because your frontal cortex in your brain is done forming,
that you are done growing. You are not.
You may think, God wound me up and that’s it.
It’s not over. We are not to the second act yet.
The curiosity is to watch the unfolding of the beauty.

This is the rich endless banquet
the endless bouquet
to which Christ-Sophia invites us.

Thanks be to God!


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