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Speaking to the Soul: The Good Ol’ Days?

Speaking to the Soul: The Good Ol’ Days?

Week of Proper 5, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 56, 57, [58] (morning) // 64, 65 (evening)

Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Galatians 4:12-20

Matthew 15:21-28

It’s a little too easy to lament the present by comparing it with past greatness. We might sound oh-so-reflective, ponderous, and wise when we chastise the present for its fall from past glory. But our first reading today deflates these pretenses at wisdom.

The author of the passage warns us readers, “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

In other words, when we ask why days gone by seem better than the day at hand, we’re falling for foolishness. And when others call “the former days better than these,” they probably have an interest in obscuring history or in oversimplifying present challenges and changes. Taken to extremes, anyone who valorizes the “former days” at the expense of today might not be a wise problem-solver but a controlling fool. It “is not from wisdom” that such a one speaks.

There may be moments from our personal histories or from past centuries that we cherish, but let’s not fool ourselves with the false wisdom of ignoring the complexities of the present and reclaiming forms of greatness whose day has passed. Rather, our souls need a wisdom that speaks to the opportunities before us, to the day that is in our hands. Instead of comparing this day to days that seemed so much better, let’s wisely fulfill its potential for a goodness and greatness all its own.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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