September 4, 2021

September 4, 2021

September 4, 2021

Brandon Berg
Clergy, First UMC Bristol
Clinch Mountain District

Wisdom at Play
Proverbs 8:27a, 30-31 (adapted from the Common English Bible)

I was there when the Lord established the heavens…

I was beside the Lord as a master of crafts.
    I was having fun,
    smiling before the Divine all the time,
    frolicking with God’s inhabited earth
    and delighting in the human race.


It’s the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, and grades are beginning to trickle in. Kudos to those teachers who are already on top of it enough to be plugging them in. The PowerSchool app on my fancy mobile device just told me that our daughter is starting another class with an A. I took a screenshot and sent it to her mother, who is busy getting her own classroom ready for a new onslaught of eighth graders, because these strong beginnings are worth celebrating.

Last night, that A student’s older sister made up for a rained-out pre-season Cross Country practice by running with a bunch of adults around Bristol. She ran ahead to join the fastest runners in the group while I lagged behind for an easy four miles in 80º heat and a thousand percent humidity. I didn’t see her again until the end. “You stayed with them the whole time?” “Yes.” “I’m proud of you,” I said. Each gain is worth celebrating.

This morning, their 15-year-old brother made it to school by 6:45 to play snare at a pep rally. That won’t seem monumental if you skimmed over his age. I celebrated that.

Now, y’all can go back and read some of Wisdom’s other characteristics in this chapter of Proverbs. It’s totally worth it. It’s a beautiful read, which I have a hard time saying about some other disjointed bits of Proverbs, but this beauty is a characteristic that we serious church people tend to overlook, I think.

Wisdom, who is often read as the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, has been playing, grinning cheekily, laughing to shake the mountains, frolicking through the Cosmos and in the grass that tickles toes, and just generally delighting in God’s image since before day one. Every success brings her delight. Every instance of growth brings proud tears to her eye. Every act of love makes her want to whirl us around in a wild waltz.

Wisdom is showing us exactly the best possible way to interact with each other. Blow a raspberry through your grave expression. Take a pack of crayons to your serious rulebook. Invest in joy. Spend time in play. Revel in delight.

It’ll feel better in your stomach and your shoulders. It’ll make you a much more pleasant person. God will shine through you.

And the world will be a wiser place.


Wisdom that saw the mountains brought forth and the heavens established: give us a little perspective. Help us play and revel and laugh at our own ridicularity even more than at platypuses and otters. Help us delight in each other, because we are yours, who lives and abides in community and unity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Daily Devotional