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September 23, 2018


Proverbs 31:10-31
This passage is the final passage in the book of Proverbs. Often referred to as an “Ode to a Capable Wife,” it is a remarkable passage considering the patriarchal context from which it comes. In the passage, wisdom is personified as a woman. And this woman embodies the qualities of compassion, integrity, determination, strength, generosity, justice and humility. Rather than viewing it as an unattainable ideal, it can be lifted up as an example of the many ways in which mutual empowerment between both women and men can be used together for the common good. The phrase to “fear the Lord” in the passage does not mean to be afraid, but rather to live in awe, wonder, and gratitude for all that God has done and continues to do in the world.

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
As we continue in the book of James, the verses for this week address the topic of wisdom, specifically, earthly wisdom versus wisdom from above. So, what does wise living look like? According to James, earthly wisdom leads to bitter envy, selfish, ambition, disorder and wickedness. Wisdom from above, however is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” James therefore exhorts his listeners to seek wisdom from God and to live lives which show gentleness born of that wisdom.

Mark 9:30-37
In these verses from Mark, Jesus and the disciples are travelling through Galilee on the way to the town of Capernaum. Jesus is teaching the disciples and says to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But the disciples do not understand Jesus’ words and are afraid to ask him what he meant. Then Jesus calls them out for arguing among themselves about who is the greatest. Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Lastly, Jesus takes a child in his arms saying, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Sermon Notes
There is much to learn in the passages for this week about wisdom and what wise living looks like. In particular, what does it mean when Jesus says, “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me”? Let’s explore this together.

Shalom, Rev. Lisa Bowersock