From Anxiety to Wisdom Pentecost 16, Proverbs 1:20-33; Mark 8:27-38 I have heard them describing this time as an Age of Anxiety. It would take a conversion of soul to become Wisdom’s Century. There are plenty alive who display technological mastery. Do you know of some sages revered for insightful integrity? Yet the manifest perils we face which induce such anxiety on occasions are known to call forth a serene equanimity. Can we find a philosopher’s stone, making gold from base substances? Could it be that we need to accept that as creatures we’re vulnerable, and it’s futile to try to defend or disguise our fragility? So though Jesus knew suffering and death awaited his ministry, Simon Peter refused to accept such a harsh ignominity. Thus already one chosen as rock, and aware of divinity, thinks refusal might somehow avert the Messiah’s dark destiny. It’s no wonder he later says “No!” when accused of relationship! In his fear he can’t come to accept what his courage demands of him: to dispense with his daydreams of power trampling over the enemy. So he had to be broken and weep at the lapse in his faithfulness, and forgiven, surrender to love, face an ultimate helplessness. Peter learnt how to carry his cross when he saw that through tragedy all must walk at the last, even God come to share our humanity. So if weakness accepted might stand with no need to retaliate, and the pain of the cheek that we turn shames the violence of tyranny, then perhaps we find meaning that brings us close to divinity. Our humility grows as we come to the source of self-emptying, who is also the way to fulfil our authentic identity, as we let ourselves grow into truth universal and merciful. Then at last though we suffer and die we emerge into joyfulness, and God’s wisdom is fully revealed, displacing anxiety.