Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Education for Liberation
v1 Does not wisdom call, does not understanding raise her voice?
Education is the foundation of any society. It is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.
Liberation may be described as a process of extricating oneself from social hegemony, which institutes inequality and oppression. In a spiritual sense, liberation is a state of freedom where the individual ego is eliminated and the true egoless state or the state of self is recognized. This is known as the liberation of the soul. Here the Word of God through the Proverbs tells us that when we educate ourselves in truth and wisdom we attain the virtue of liberation in our lives.
As before in the book of Proverbs, Solomon here wrote of wisdom as if it were a person – a noble, beautiful, helpful woman in contrast to the immoral woman described in Proverbs 7. She speaks to those beside the way and where the paths meet. She makes her call in the most public of places, by the gates, at the entry of the city. Wisdom is not hidden – it cries out to all who will listen.
The setting for the wisdom is described with usual detail and emphasis. The most important designation is the "gates" of the city(8:3). These designate the heart of commerce, judicial activity, and social exchange, and here the "heights" would suggest the top of the city walls. Wisdom designates her audience: everyone. No limits are put upon the audience. The address is to any who are ready to listen. Wisdom has a commanding voice in this part, the tone of the speech remains imperious throughout. Wisdom presents a doctrine that is to be put into practice. Wisdom describes the values she stands for. Wisdom claims nobility, truth, justice for the instruction she offers.
Wisdom in verses 7-8 reflects the description of the Lord in the Song of Moses( Deut 32:4-5). The honesty of her speech needs to be emphasised in view of the abuse of speech on the part of the wicked. When wisdom speaks, it is true. When people use lies they should not be trusted to communicate wisdom. Moreover, wickedness is an " abomination " to her lips.
Verse 9 indicates the requisite reaction: Those who have understanding will "find" or acquire knowledge. The comparison with silver and gold means that most would probably settle for silver and gold, and treat wisdom as a side issue.
In verse 12 wisdom identifies herself with cleverness or insight. Where prudence – self-control, good judgment – is found, there wisdom will be found. Prudence is defined, wisdom applied to practice; so wherever true wisdom is, it will lead to action.
In these fearful times of pandemic let us reflect the wisdom and truth that is emancipated through the salvific act of Jesus Christ. And let that hopeful reflection of the ultimate truth in Christ lead the whole humanity into the consciousnesses of ultimate liberation.
Lord help us to understand the wisdom and truth of your word so that we could educate ourselves and others towards the hope and light of liberation. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Merlin Binoy, The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church