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Pastor's Corner: True wisdom

In Havre, it feels like the whole town celebrates graduation season. Everyone joins in on the joy of students proudly completing the race they've run. We're all eager to praise the learning and growth that graduation represents.

For some churches, this graduation season also encompasses confirmation, the traditional period of learning for the youth, focused on the Bible, church history, and important founding documents and doctrines. We want our young adults to have a solid foundation of faith for all the change that is yet before them. The world is a topsy-turvy place: it was in Jesus's day, it was in your grandparents' day, and it is today. No matter the state of the world, our youth – and us – need to be grounded in holy wisdom.

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs is a good place to start when you're looking for wisdom. Proverbs wrestles with timeless questions: How important is integrity? What makes for a good neighbor, loving partner, or trusted friend? What values do we treasure and why? How can we create just and safe societies? What should shape our relationship with money, power, work, rest? And what's the best way to teach all that to our children?

Here are a few proverbs that invite us to ponder biblical wisdom. Think about what our world would be like, how much better our world would be, if everyone internalized and lived by these nuggets of wisdom.

"Lying lips conceal hatred, and whoever utters slander is a fool." (10:18)

"Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears is one who meddles in the quarrel of another." (26:17)

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." (15:3)

"Don't answer fools according to their folly, or you will become like them yourself." (26:4)

Think of how the Facebook page "Havre's Questions, Comments, and Concerns" might be changed if we all abided by these proverbs!

But our God offers us a different sort of wisdom, as well. Our God offers us the Spirit of Truth, as Jesus calls the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John. On Pentecost, this Spirit was poured out onto the believers, and people from all sorts of backgrounds were united in their belief in God's son. The Holy Spirit, the spirit of wisdom, led them to Jesus. 

God's Spirit of Truth is constantly working in all of our lives. God's Spirit of Truth is the wisdom that says, "I can't do it on my own. I need you, Jesus. I need your goodness, I need your forgiveness, I need your love, I need your help." It's the wisdom to realize we don't always have the proverb that tells us the answer. We're not always going to make the right choice. We're not going to wake up every morning chipper and happy and ready for the day. There will be days, or seasons, when we might be angry, depressed, lonely, questioning everything. The gift of the Holy Spirit is that on those days, every day, we are filled with the wisdom to turn to Jesus. To lay our burdens at his feet, to pick up his yoke of service and sacrifice, to know deep in our bones that we are cherished and loved and redeemed.

My hope for graduates - and our confirmation students - is that they will discover, over and over again, the strength and hope that Jesus gives. Or, in the words of C.S. Lewis: "If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you may always do so."

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Pastor Megan Hoewisch

First Lutheran Church

 

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