O Wisdom, Which camest forth out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: 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, until the mentor is needed no more—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.”
Telling Christ’s Truth With Prudence
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. Most Star Wars fans do.
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 Advent antiphon reminds us 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 to keep silent,” after all, “and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3.7). Those who are 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 and how has Jesus prudently spoken wisdom to you, at a time you were ready to hear his truth? To whom might it be the right time for you to speak his truth today?
Scripture quotations are NRSVUE. Antiphon texts are from The Advent Antiphons by A.C.A. Hall, 1914 (http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/acahall/antiphons.html). A version of this post first appeared on The Sci-Fi Christian, December 17, 2015.