Metallurgy is not a topic I have firsthand experience with, but my father-in-law works in the field. During part of his career, he helped engineer an alloy to be used in creating hip replacement joints. The creation process he described to me includes specific conditions that are necessary for combining different metallic elements into a uniform composition, forming that amalgam into the replacement joint, and determining how much wear the completed product can withstand. To me, the most interesting part is how the replacement joint is “installed”. The surface where apparatus meets bone is made rough and porous, so that the regenerating bone can grow into and meld with the new joint.
I hear in today’s readings a similar process, the alloy created by the combination of human flesh and divine wisdom. The blending of two like-yet-unlike things, of physical life joined to spiritual life, creating out of their union a stronger, more enduring creation that cries out like the psalmist, “Wonderful are your decrees; therefore I observe them. The revelation of your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple.” How do we bring about this blending of muscle and understanding, our lives and God’s Wisdom? Each of us is called by Christ to seek out the treasure of Wisdom, the great pearl of understanding. To have knowledge of God “written on the bones”, to use a Tibetan phrase, seems to be more than memorization of the Catechism, more than the computer-like ability to regurgitate prayers. Instead, it requires a heart that desires to follow God, a heart that is open and ready to say “yes” to living this Wisdom in the world.
Being in a community that carries God’s story and being surrounded by other people who hunger to live according to God’s Wisdom are vital ingredients to our own human-divine amalgamation. I’d like to highlight two ways we naturally enter this process. One, as families, we create and sustain family rituals that grow space for the story of God’s love to be told anew. And secondly, in our ministries and as a community of faith, we bind ourselves to each other through worship, community, and service with the Law of Love. Like with metallurgy, we are made stronger, wiser, and holier through these processes. Let us continue to seek out this treasured Wisdom, that she might no longer hide in a field, but be drawn forth and melded to our lives.