In Eat this Book, Eugene Peterson teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it, and then put it to use in practical ways. Our Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. In this passage from Proverbs, we learn about the role of the Holy Spirit as the Harmonizer who, says Peterson, “takes our hands and we become a lifetime apprentice in the life of faith so that gradually our lives become a symphony” (in As Kingfishers Catch Fire)
Holy Spirit, Harmonizer; Proverbs 8, selected verses (NIV)
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full. . . .
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
30 Then I was constantly[e] at his side. I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence, 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. . . .
32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.”
I don’t think I have ever read this passage from Proverbs. I came upon it in a sermon written by Eugene Peterson (As Kingfishers Catch Fire) who focuses on the word Wisdom in the first line of the passage. “Wisdom,” he says “is the term that specializes in living well. Wisdom is the skilled living of truth in everyday living.. . . Wisdom expands our imagination to realize that at the basis of it all is that we become skilled persons on the way to becoming artists of everyday life.” Peterson goes on to say that Wisdom is a personification of the Holy Spirit. That is, the way we can become artists of everyday life is through the influence and fashioning of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows me (and each of you) and is personally present to us.
This passage brings out the character and attributes of Wisdom (the Holy Spirit): know- ledge, discretion, sound judgment, insight, and power. The Holy Spirit loves us and is available to those who seek her. The Spirit walks in righteousness and in the paths of justice. Who wouldn’t want a mentor or adviser or life coach with those qualifications like that! We are to listen to the Spirit and not disregard her teachings. The reward for our open ears and our willing hearts will be true life and the favor of the Lord
♥ In Rev. 3:20-22, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Proverbs 8: 34 has a similar image about the Holy Spirit. We are to be “watching daily at my doorway, waiting at my doorway.” Picture yourself standing in an open doorway, watching and waiting for the person who has invited you over to come and speak to you. Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts, but the Spirit wants us to knock on hers. Imagine how can you do that.
♥ What does it mean to you to be an “artist of everyday life?” To me it means creating something beautiful and meaningful of every moment of the day. When we awake in the morning, we can ask our “harmonizer” to help us make our life “harmonious” – so that our lives can become like a symphony in tune with the way Jesus showed us how to live.
♥ We can collaborate with the Holy Spirit if we pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to us. We need times of silence and solitude to be “inspired” (breathed into) and to hear from the Spirit about the vision God has for our lives. We also need to check in with the Spirit often each day (at least as often as we check Facebook or Instagram) to stay focused on living like Jesus.
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“The Holy Spirit is involved in everything we are at the present time. Not just the good things about us but the unfortunate things also. Not only our potential for goodness but our inclination toward evil. Not only our achievements but our mistakes and failures. God accepts us where we are and he works in and with us to make a whole life. . . . ”
Using the metaphor of pianists with different skills, Eugene Peterson goes on to say: “The Holy Spirit is the Harmonizer. The Harmonizer takes the notes we are playing so clumsily and ignorantly, takes our hands, and we become lifetime apprentices in the life of faith so that gradually our lives become more like a symphony than a two-fingered rendition of Three Blind Mice. (Eugene Peterson in As Kingfishers Catch Fire).