Day 4. Wisdom calling out in the city


With great understanding,
Wisdom is calling out
as she stands at the crossroads
and on every hill.
She stands by the city gate
where everyone enters the city,
and she shouts:
“I am calling out
to each one of you!
Good sense and sound judgment
can be yours.
Listen, because what I say
is worthwhile and right.
I always speak the truth
and refuse to tell a lie.
Every word I speak is honest,
not one is misleading
or deceptive.

- Proverbs 8:1-8 (CEB)

I am impatiently waiting for wisdom--wisdom for my own soul, for the soul of my Church and the soul of my country. I have worshipped in communities of immigrants for much of my adult life. As I have been privileged to know them and hear their stories, I learned that what I often hear from TV and out of the mouths of politicians about those who seek refuge and home in this country could not be further from truth. We have come to live in a world where truth is stretched and shattered and right now few bear the brunt of that more than our immigrant and refugee neighbors.

In this Advent season, I am longing for the truth that comes with wisdom. So I am trying to listen for the places where “wisdom is calling out in the city.” I hear her shouting in the voices of Dreamers rising up and speaking out, not just for themselves but for their families to be treated with fairness and dignity. I see it in refugee brothers and sisters planting farms right in the city to make Houston more beautiful and to provide fresh produce. I read it on my church’s prayer cards when a refugee family that has been visiting with us ask our prayers for God to guide and strengthen them.

My prayers are for “good sense and sound judgment” to prevail in a conversation that seems focused on dehumanizing and demeaning. My friends who are immigrants to this great country have taught me an enormous amount about what it means to wait with hope, but also to wait actively- working and praying for the justice and mercy that God’s kingdom promises. I hope I can be faithful to their witness.

Our impatience may sometimes be a lack of wisdom, but there is another impatience- a holy impatience, that prays like the Psalmists and the prophets:

“Oh that you would tear open the heaven and come down so the mountains would quake at your presence!”
“Lord, you listen to the desires of those who suffer.
You steady their hearts;
you listen closely to them,
to establish justice
for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that people of the land
will never again be terrified.” (Psalm 10)

Is not this the fast that I choose to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? When your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58)

May the light break forth like dawn in this Advent season, to reveal truth in wisdom in our hearts and our world. May we wait with holy impatience for our world to reflect the love and justice of Jesus. Amen.

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Rev. Emily Chapman is the Senior Pastor at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in the Woodland Heights neighborhood. A native Texan from the DFW area, she has resided in Houston for almost a decade. Her favorite things about Houston are its diversity, its vibrant arts scene and its amazing food. She is passionate about neighbors meeting each other, especially those whose paths might not naturally cross. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, she is also an avid basketball fan.