Sermon from Sunday May 26th 2013 / Trinity Sunday �Wisdom and the Trinity�
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / May 26th / Trinity Sunday, Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31.
“Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
And my cry is to the children of man”
(Proverbs 8: 1-4 ESV)
“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His work,
the first of his acts of old.
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man.
(Proverbs 8:22-31 ESV)
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. In 1938 construction began on a bridge: A suspension bridge. The bridge was built to cross Puget Sound, to cross the Tacoma Narrows. To great fanfare the bridge was dedicated in July of 1940, and was named the Tacoma Narrows Bridge but it had by that time already begun to develop the nick name "Galloping Gertie." The reason it developed this name was because the bridge had a tendency to pitch its deck in the wind. On the morning of November 7th1940 the wind came up on the Sound and the 42 mile an hour wind caused the bridge to twist and pitch and buckle. One frightened motorist, Leonard Coatsworth, abandoned his car in the middle of the bridge to find cover and his dog (paralyzed by fear) didn’t follow him; in the midst of the impending disaster a bystander attempted to save the dog, risking his own life going out toward the car upon the rolling bridge, but the wind was too much, the bridge was too dangerous and the attempt to save the dog was abandoned. Minutes later the aeroelastic flutter had gripped the bridge to the point that the centre of it collapsed and the car and the poor dog fell into the cold waters of Puget Sound. The dog died, the bridge was destroyed and because of the 2ndWorld War and some initial confusion as to why the bridge collapsed in the first place the bridge was not replaced until 1950. Barney Elliott, owner of a local camera shop caught the whole thing on film and the film footage of the disaster is shown to students studying Engineering, Physics and Architecture as a cautionary tale. The purpose of this is to make sure that they as builders and designers would be wise and not foolish in their planning and constructing.
On a small scale each person who constructs something, builds something, each person who even just goes to cut something (from fabric to fiberglass, to a nice piece of Douglas Fir) knows that it is wise to “Measure twice, and cut once.” Were the builders of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge foolish? Was their wisdom limited? They clearly didn’t see the trouble coming! In fact they were not concerned about the way the bridge pitched and twisted because at that time the mass of the bridge was considered to be sufficient to keep it structurally sound. It was a big bridge for that time, solid enough, they thought.
“Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.” Wisdom is the same sort of thing, for us (for you and I) we gain wisdom through experience and/or through the experience of others, like when someone wants to teach us to be wise by showing us the film of the bridge disaster before we start into the task of engineering or building a bridge or anything else for that matter. This is not so with God: God does not receive Wisdom through experience, Proverbs 8 tells us that Wisdom was possessed by God from the beginning; there was never a time when God was without Wisdom.
What is Wisdom? For you and I, it's just a part of who we are, we either lack it or have it: it's like intellect or patience or sportsmanship, for us wisdom is like a quality of our character and while it is a part of us it is an ever developing thing, if you lack wisdom now you may gain it latter! Is this what it's like for God? I want you to listen to this passage from First Corinthians, St. Paul writes the Corinthian Christians saying, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Did you hear it? Christ is what? Christ is the power of God and the Wisdom of God. Proverbs 8 says, “The LORD possessed [Wisdom] at the beginning of His work”
This passage from Proverbs tell us that before Jesus was a carpenter, before He was born, before He was in the womb of the Virgin Mary,He was the Pre-Incarnate Craftsman of Creation. King Solomon in Proverbs maps out the same sort of description of the Pre-Incarnate Christ as we see the Apostle John do in the beginning of the Gospel of John, when John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” So we see here how Proverbs 8 says the same thing from a different angle. God, the LORD, had already possessed Wisdom “at the beginning of His way.” [Again] note that this phrase does not refer to the beginning of Wisdom. [Wisdom] is [the One] speaking [here] – and [Wisdom] has no beginning. Rather, it refers to the beginning of God’s activities in relation to His creation, which does have a beginning (Gen 1:1). But unlike us God is wise before He experiences anything. This is, in part true, because generally speaking the experience of God is different than the experience of man. Being Omni-Present, being all present everywhere means being present before, after and during every moment of time. Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega ... Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty,” “the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” The book of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Paradoxically in His perfect obedience Christ Jesus set this aside in the time between His conception and His Death upon the cross so that He could truly be tested and tempted in our place, and where we are found wanting He in perfection was found righteous and perfect in all things, qualities now given as a gift to each of us in Him.
So today you can add another name by which you know Jesus. Jesus is the Wisdom of God; just as He is “Immanuel” (which means, God with us), just as He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” just as He is the "Bread of Life" and the "Life of the World." He said “I am the Light of the world.”  “I am the Good Shepherd.” “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” The Prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament says that Jesus will be called “Wonderful Counselor” and “Mighty God,” that He will be called the “Prince of Peace.” The second person of the Holy Trinity has many names but He is one person: “For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.” Jesus is the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is Wisdom and all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Jesus is Wisdom.
What does this mean for us today? Right now, right here? It means that Jesus was in the beginning “rejoicing in [the] inhabited world” which He and His Father and the Holy Spirit had made, it means that the same Jesus who hung on the cross and died for all mankind was before the fall into sin simply pleased with Adam and Eve. It means that God desired and desires always to restore this world broken by sin; He desired and desires to restore the broken children of Adam and Eve, so that in eternity we can joyfully live together in that original perfection and God can once again delight in the children of men unabated by sin, un-hindered by hardship and tears and sickness and trouble. The God who promises to do this is the same God we find in Proverbs 8, The God who promises to do this is Wisdom; The God who promises to do this is Christ Jesus. One and the same.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit didn’t abandon us when we were paralyzed with fear, when we were caught in our sin, when we were trapped in the midst of destruction, Jesus the second person of the Trinity walked out onto the bridge of our world pitching and twisting and bucking in the wake of Adam's fall into sin and He rescued us with His life’s blood. Even though the world thinks that saving people such as us is a foolish thing, it is with great joy that I can say to you this day, that it was the Wisdom of God that saved you: Christ Jesus your Lord. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. It is the Wisdom of God. Amen.
Let us pray: Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.