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Wisdom in Nature

silhouette of a person looking up at the night sky

Sunday 4th February
Year B:
Liturgical Colour: Green*


  • Psalm 104: 24.35
  • Proverbs 8: 1, 22-31
  • Colossians 1: 15-20
  • Mark 1: 29-39

(* In the Book of Common Prayer today is Sexagesima Sunday – Purple or Green)


All of our readings today are concerned with wisdom and creation; two of my favourite topics! They take us right back to the moment God brought creation into being, each offering a different perspective.

The Old Testament reading describes how Wisdom was created (or more accurately some combination of begotten, brought forth, acquired, achieved or engendered) before anything else and was then alongside God as witness, craftswoman and playmate, as the rest of creation followed.

There is ongoing debate about the exact nature of Wisdom, but she is definitely female and her status can bring gender balance to our various theologies.

Wisdom is one of those Catch 22 kind of concepts. Anyone who thinks they are wise are actually deluded, because a wise person knows they know next to nothing!

The book of Proverbs is a pretty good manual for trying to learn though. It is essentially a collection of pithy wise sayings, traditionally attributed to Solomon, although its finally editing was much later, sometime from around 600BC. The sages who wrote Proverbs root their theology in knowledge of God gained through creation.

The ‘fear of the Lord’ is also a key concept. However, this is not understood as the fear of a God who is unpredictable, vengeful and violent, a view you could be forgiven for getting from some other books of the Old Testament. Rather it means the total awe that results in obedience and proper relationship with God, which is necessary in order to gather knowledge and live wisely. This includes understanding that attitudes and actions, whether good or bad, have consequences.

John’s prologue is more usually associated with Christmas, and that is why it is perfect to be included again today. The first sentence echoes the beginning of Genesis and gestures back to the creation stories described there. The Word is described as having the same divine essence as God and being fundamentally orientated towards union with God. This Word was then made flesh at the incarnation.

The reading from Colossians looks back on the life and death of Jesus and provides an emphatic summary of how the writer understands Jesus’ death as therefore bringing all things in heaven and on earth back into reconciliation with God.

Our readings today have, among others, been used in the intelligent design argument for the existence of God.


I know not everyone regularly uses the psalms in worship. However, if you can include 104 today it will be a real treat. The portion set or indeed the whole psalm could be read as a reflective meditation. Or perhaps, if you have the facilities, a video like this might be played as people arrive. (With or without the sound.)

So what?

Lots of research has been done into how being in nature is good for our health in terms of mental and emotional well-being. This is hardly surprising when you think about it. After all, spending time with God in prayer has that effect, so why shouldn’t spending time with God in nature be the same.

Many of our churches have green spaces around them that can be places of peace and refuge for local nature, including us. Why not think about how you might provide an area for people to walk and / or sit and meet God there.

There are lots of resources on the Environment and Climate Change pages of our website to inspire and equip you to do this; and indeed many other things we could be doing to protect our sacred earth too.