In the book, “When Your Life is On Fire, What Would You Save” the actor Alan Alda is quoted as saying, “You think you get ahold of wisdom, and then you realize it’s only cleverness. It’s not wisdom if you can put it on the side of a coffee mug.” I recently saw on the side of a beer stein, “After a few beers, all words are words of wisdom.” It would seem that true wisdom is in short supply these days. In the aforementioned book I also stumbled on this thought about our age, “Intelligence is halfway to the stars, but wisdom remains on the launch pad.” We live in a time where we consume information at a frantic pace but do little to savor, digest or understand what we have taken in. This past week a childhood friend of mine traveled to the Holy Lands and she has been posting her experiences on Facebook. I have enjoyed reading about her adventures and have been flooded with memories of the same trip Pastor Martha and I took three years ago. One of my fondest memories is of our approach to the gates of an ancient, not abandoned, walled city. Just inside the first gate you could make out a stone block up against one of the interior walls. I was informed that this is where the judges and wise men of the city would often gather and where one could come for advice or judgment on an issue. A cluster of sages would ponder deeply the issues presented and render an opinion. Wisdom is the consequence of life experiences and a willingness to listen, evaluate and consider all the potential options. Such a careful approach indeed makes a difference in how one sees and responds to what is presented to you. I learned this art when taking a wine tasting class. I went into the class knowing very little about wine; it was pretty much fermented grape juice to my senses. Then I was taught how to appreciate the wine; to smell the aroma and give the beverage time to breathe, swirling the wine and noting how, in time, the aroma changed with the addition of oxygen. I learned about clarity and alcohol content and how different varieties of grapes and varying amounts of sugar could change the overall quality and nuances of the wine. I’m still not a great connoisseur of wine and if you blindfolded me I would be hard-pressed to tell you much about what I was drinking. But this I know; to truly appreciate a wine one must take their time and be observant with all your senses. The first step to enjoying wine is to not rush. A life of faith, a relationship with God, also requires us to be mindful and take the time to be cognizant to the wonder of God as revealed in all aspects of life. Worship, Bible study and prayer are all elements by which we can become more aware of the presence of God. More often than not it is the quality verses the quantity of life experiences that matter. The ability to contemplate on God’s love and grace and consider how this abundant love can touch our lives, the way we live and how we interact with others. March, 2017 March, 2017 Grace Notes is also available online at www.gracelc.org/news/grace-notes Page 2 The season of Lent is soon upon us. It is a tradition to practice the discipline of Lent which is often defined as Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Fasting is the process of giving something up to be more aware of God’s blessings and to perhaps reserve more time for prayer. We are also invited to share our blessings for the purpose of helping those in need and supporting the humanitarian efforts of the Church. Lent is a time to ponder the glory and wonder of God and to acknowledge our profound need to know the love God has for us all. May we take the time to embrace the richness of life that is wrapped up in the blessings of the God who loves us. Amen.
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