How can you see Christ’s wisdom in a crazy old wizard from the Tatooine wastelands?
O Wisdom, who came forth from the mouth of the Most High,reaching from one end to end, and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.
When my ninth grade English teacher introduced us to the literary archetype of the “Wise Old Man”— the mentor who accompanies the fledgling hero on his quest—she told us to think of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The prequels were still more than a decade away, so we thought only of Sir Alec Guinness’ Ben Kenobi.
Ben helped young Luke take his first steps into a larger world with sage counsel and faithful friendship. Not even Darth Vader’s lightsaber stopped Ben from guiding Luke. Whether in the flesh or in the Force, Ben epitomized “wisdom from on high.”
Granted, Ben did choose to withhold some important information from Luke! I’ve often debated whether Ben wisely handled the truth about Luke’s father. Ben’s speech about “truth from a certain point of view” sometimes seems no more than fast-talking justification of a fib. On the other hand, Luke couldn’t have handled the whole truth while still a Tatooine farm boy, craving adventure and excitement.
Today’s antiphon reminds us that God’s wisdom is prudent. It carefully takes the future into account—as Ben Kenobi did when telling Luke about Luke’s father. “There is a time for silence,” after all, “and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3.7, NRSV), and the wise know the difference.
May God make us wise enough to speak truth with prudence. May the Holy Spirit guide us so we never speak Christ’s truth in anything but humility and love, and never leave his liberating truth unspoken when it most needs to be heard.
When was a time in your life you experienced Jesus as wisdom?
Antiphon text from The United Methodist Hymnal (1989). Read this introduction to Advent antiphons from last year’s “Advent Antiphons in a Sci-Fi Key” series, and read last year’s sci-fi take on today’s antiphon.