Focus on Wisdom and do not be distracted. Watch the patterns of creation,
and you will awaken to grace and tranquility.
Focus on wisdom and do not be distracted. If only it were that easy. Distraction means to draw apart, coming from the Latin trahere, to draw or drag. There is much that draws us away from wisdom. Powers that seem at times to forcefully drag us off the path of the way of love. Voices that call us to be untrue to who God created us to be. In other words, lies of the enemy. Our adversary. The devil. Who we are reminded in the First Letter of Peter, prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). One of the lies that distracts me at this time, that whispers to me as I encounter the grief and brokenness and promise and grace of each day, is that things are back to normal. That we have figured this out. That I should be able to fix…all of it, any of it.
Focus on Wisdom and do not be distracted. Watch the patterns of creation, and you will awaken to grace and tranquility. My encounter with the lavender bloom and the leaf might be seen as a distraction…or as a call into the patterns of creation, an awakening to grace. How do we recognize the difference? Do we always know when we are being drawn into deeper relationship with Christ? Do we recognize the holiness when are we being dragged into acknowledgement of our sinfulness, our complicity, our need for lament, remorse and contrition, repentance, and change?
For myself, at times I am dragged kicking and screaming to my need to forgive. I am often stubborn or just plain afraid of my need to change. And I can deny like a champion my need to repent. Sometimes, grace is the distraction, pulling us away from a dangerous path.
You and I know the call of Jesus, the way of love, is nothing less than transformation. And the peace we seek, the tranquility offered by Wisdom, by Christ Sophia, is not tame. This is the peace of God which surpasses our understanding (Philippians 4:7), transcends our ability to grasp or explain it. This is the peace that shatters contentment.
As poet William Alexander Percy wrote in 1924, which has become a beloved hymn, the disciples of Jesus were contented…
before they ever knew
the Peace of God that filled their hearts
Brimful and broke them too…
The peace of God, it is no peace,
But strife closed in the sod.
Yet let us pray for but one thing --
The marvelous peace of God!
Can we allow the gravity of grace to pull us toward the core of creation? To slow us down? Distract us with awe? Awaken us to tranquility? Will we surrender to a wisdom that exposes and hallows vulnerability?
The peace brought by a moment of being captivated by a lavender bloom and a fallen leaf is honestly a weak reflection of the grace gifted us by God. But the invitation is there. God’s distracting invitation is all around us---in all times.
Hymnal 1982, hymn 661
This reflection was given at Morning Worship for the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church on October 9, 2020