Ephesians 5:15-20 - "Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody for the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ok. So this is the passage that they give me for this week's children's sermon. Instantly, I am thrown back into my evangelical Young Life days, where all I wanted to do was sit in a circle in the sun, sing praise songs, and hope that that boy playing guitar - the one with the Jesus fish on his car and the hemp necklace - would marry me.
But now, I love beer. I love some good debauchery. I think God is Mother, too.
So what do I tell these bleary-eyed kids, dragged from their summer beds to attend church in the 90 degree heat?
All I can think of are owls.
I wonder why owls are thought to be so wise. Why, out of the marmoset, the dung beetle, the great blue heron, why are the owls the wise ones?
It turns out, at least one reason, is that in stories and folklore, owls are considered wise because of their ability to maneuver in the dark. Being nocturnal creatures, these birds are able to live out most of their lives in darkness, hunting, nesting, mating, being, in the time of the day that humans fear most. This is an uncertain time. A dangerous time. A time when shadows cast strange shapes on the sidewalks, and even our feeble porch lights and streetlights do little more than remind us that we are completely vulnerable against the dark.
And maybe this is what wisdom is: a way for us to see our vulnerability, our unlit paths, our questions and doubts, and still maneuver through them. We make the most of our time by living wisely - not as ones who know all the answers, but as ones who try to maneuver through the dark, seeing and not seeing, sometimes stumbling, sometimes groping, and sometimes actually leading others through our questions and fears and doubts - or maybe we don't lead them through any of it; maybe we just nest in the dark, go on an occasional night hunt, sometimes coming back with full bellies, sometimes just enjoying the midnight flight.