This summer, like the past few summers, my family and I spent a week's vacation at Brigantine Beach in New Jersey. A few times during the week, and especially on rainy days, we'd make the short trek over to their public library to rent DVDs and because they're the only place on the island that has free Wi-Fi --heaven forbid someone should miss an email or a facebook post! Anyway, in the basement of this library lies a virtual treasure trove for me.....bargain books for sale!!!! You can find just about anything there, from cookbooks to comic books, children's classics to Christian fiction, it's all there and all for under five bucks.
This year, among other things, I came across a book (for 50 cents!!!) entitled, 'The Beginning of Wisdom,' edited by Thomas Becknell and Mary Ellen Ashcroft. On each page is a prayer or a poem by someone --teacher, poet, missionary, writer -- who spent much of their life in the pursuit of wisdom.
The editors of this book point out in its introduction that wisdom is something that really doesn't appeal to us in this day and age. Wealth, beauty, a buff bod, the fastest car, a good credit score and the latest electronic gizmos and gadgets are the things that head up our culture's 'wish list.' Yet wisdom is something we desperately need. The Bible says in Proverbs 9:10 that 'The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,' and the beginning of wisdom is recognizing our NEED for God.
Beginning today and intermittantly thereafter, I'd like to share with you some of this book's various prayers and writings; some are from very learned people and some come from those who received no formal education in life at all; some names you may recognize, some you may not. But it's my desire that these prayers and poems will bring you encouragement, comfort and hope for the day, as well as a sense of peace and the nearness of our Lord, as I myself have found in the reading of them.
And -- that you might be moved to pursue wisdom as if were a matter of life and death. Because actually, it is:
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding ~ Proverbs 4:7, NIV
Today's prayer comes from the Iona Community, founded by George MacLeod in 1938 on an island off Scotland's coast. Members of this large community practice living the common, simple life in the midst of violence in various urban centers, working for peace and social justice, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.
Christ, The Master Carpenter
O Christ, the Master Carpenter
Who, at the last, through wood and nails,
Purchased our whole salvation.
Wield well Your tools in the workshop of Your world,
So that we, who come rough-hewn to Your bench
May here be fashioned to a truer beauty of Your hand.
We ask it for Your own Name's sake.