Thought for the Day by Tim Ward (St Chad’s)
Hildegard of Bingen
Hello, my name is Hildegard of Bingen. This is my festival day and so, this is my Thought for the Day. I have written poems, hymns, natural history, music, theology and medical books before, but nothing since 1179.
I was born in 1098 and became a Benedictine nun at 15. I am still famous for my visions, convents and religious writing. My passions also included drawing, medicine, natural history and music. I based my most famous work “Knowledge of the Ways of the Lord” on 26 of my visions. After a full, sometimes painful life, I left this earth on 17th September 1179.
I can relate to Solomon in today’s reading from the first book of Kings, Solomon was going to build a temple as the ultimate place of worship. I had my own struggles moving a convent community to near Bingen on the Rhine. In Kings we read of all the logistic problems Solomon had working with his neighbour Hiram, who supplied all the cedar and pine logs he wanted.
But the writer shows Solomon had wider interests: he “spoke of trees and plants…about animals, birds, reptiles and fish.”. I too wrote, and drew about all these things, plants, fishes, trees, birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, medicine, science.
Solomon was, famously the wisest of all men” who composed “3000 proverbs, and more than a thousand songs” As well as books, I wrote a morality play Ordo Virtutum, with women taking the key roles. And also music, I was devoted to sacred music, because it helped:…
“… to build a bridge of holiness between this world and the world of all Beauty and Music.”
Kings from all over the world heard of Solomon’s wisdom and sent people to listen to him. Well, I saw powerful people too, but did not let them get away lightly: King Henry II, the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Eugenius III and others got a flea in their ear: they needed to get back to the gospel. I would have berated Solomon for his use of “forced labour” in the building preparations.
I knew conflict when developing my convents, and Luke, in this chapter of his Acts of the Apostles, details the division in the early church about the status of non-Jewish believers. Ending the distinction Peter says”, We believe and are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.” Peter spoke out in accordance with the vision he’d had on the rooftop in Joppa. I think we both saw creation as one.
So, thank you for letting me write this Thought for the Day. I can relate to Solomon and to Peter with his fellow disciples. I hope that this speaks to you, so you too can begin to “build a bridge of holiness”