Proverbs 8:22-31 – Presence and Play

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Proverbs 8:22-31 (NRSV)

Wisdom’s Part in Creation

22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.


When have you resisted the birth of something new in you? What was the source of that resistance?

How can you cultivate awareness to opportunities to be present at new creations, your own & others? How might play be involved?

A story from the Desert Christian Tradition:

Two elders were staying with each other and never quarreled. Said the one to the other, “Let us quarrel the way people do.” In answer the other one said to him, “I don’t know how a quarrel begins,” but he said, “Look, I am putting a brick between us and saying it is mine; you are to say, ‘No, it is mine,’ and that is how it begins.” They did so and one of them said, “That is mine,” and the other one said, “No, it is mine,” and the first one said in reply, “Yes indeed; take it and go,” and off they went, finding nothing to quarrel with each other about.

A poem from the Mathnawi, Book III, lines 49-62:

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
      Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

-Rumi (13th century)



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