Q. If the beginning of wisdom is the fear or revering of the Lord, then it seems to me this implies that to really understand reality one must know and trust and respect and indeed worship the God who created it all. In other words, wisdom that begins with God is hardly secular in character. It is deeply personal in character but not a private matter since God and his wisdom should not be exiled to the margins of reality and human thought. How has meditating on this theological character of wisdom helped you get through the ups and downs of your own life, the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual challenges?
A. Hard to say in a few words. In my own personal experience, thinking about wisdom has mainly been mediated by thinking about Jesus in Gethsemane, at Calvary, and on Easter Day. If the supreme embodiment of wisdom is here, then all our easy notions of what understanding the truth about reality might look like fade. But this makes it easier to face disappointment, suffering and death, since those are entered into by Jesus. I’ve come to see that they are not things to be escaped from but rather to be lived through in trust that divine goodness, wisdom and truth are indeed given, even if not in ways we would have initially wanted or expected.
[Side Note by BW3– One of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had at an Easter sunrise service was shared with Walter in Durham Cathedral in 2013 when I was scholar in residence at John’s College in Durham]