Rev. Larry E. Schultz conducts the Chancel Choir of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, in singing “Rise Up, O People, Proclaim Christ-Sophia Has Risen” to a familiar hymn tune, with pictures from various artists.
“Christ-Sophia” is the central divine symbol in this song. This new symbol holds power for inspiring social justice through shared power and fulfilling the biblical promise of new creation. “Christ-Sophia” resurrects a lost biblical symbol and offers new possibilities for wholeness by making equal connections between genders, races, and religious traditions, thus providing a foundation for communities based on partnership instead of domination. Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom, is a resurrected biblical female divine image that opens new possibilities for justice, liberation, and new life.
New Testament writers link Christ to Wisdom, a female symbol of Deity in the Hebrew Scriptures. Wisdom (Hokmah in Hebrew) symbolizes creative, redemptive, and healing power. In their efforts to describe this same power in Christ, the apostle Paul and other New Testament writers draw from the picture of Wisdom. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as the “power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia in Greek language of New Testament) of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Wisdom (Sophia) from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the “way,” the “life,” and the “path” (4:11,22,26). The Gospel of John refers to Christ as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). There are many more biblical connections between Christ and Sophia. Origin, one of the earliest Christian writers, declared Sophia to be the most ancient and appropriate title for Jesus. Bringing this biblical connection of Sophia and Christ to our worship can inspire powerful partnerships that contribute to peace and justice in our world.
The new linguistic symbol of “Christ-Sophia” awakens the imagination to the continual birthing that takes place through creation and resurrection. “Christ-Sophia” inspires hope that biblical female names for the Divine, killed by patriarchy, can rise again to join with other biblical divine names to bring new power and wisdom. “Christ-Sophia” gives rise to a living faith. “Christ-Sophia” frees us from narrow ways of thinking and challenges us to new ideas and new ways of being. “Christ-Sophia” empowers us to make the vision of the new creation a reality.
Hymn Lyrics:Rise up, O people, proclaim Christ-Sophia has risen, raising the buried and opening the doors to all prisons. Rise up and shine! Lighting the pathway divine, as we declare this true vision. Take heart, O daughters, behold, Christ-Sophia brings healing; sons, lift your eyes and find health in this sacred revealing. Claim life anew! Earth’s richest beauty renew, showing a way so appealing. Come now, O sisters, and join Christ-Sophia in daring. Brothers, join in and lay down heavy burdens you’re bearing. Come, one and all! Follow the life-giving call, changing the world through deep caring. Sing a new song and rejoice, Christ-Sophia adoring, glory and freedom within and around us restoring. Sing, for the Light comes to revive truth and right; now radiant spirits are soaring.
Performed by: Chancel Choir of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina. Conductor: Rev. Larry E. Schultz
Pam Allen: “Mary Magdalene and Butterflies” © Pam Allen. Used with permission.
Mirta Toledo: “Sophia” © 2003 Mirta Toledo. Used with permission.
Bridget Mary’s Blog: two photos from Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom” © 2003 Mary Plaster. Used with permission.
David Clanton: photo of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Chancel Choir, Orchestra, & Congregation © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.
Recorded by: Ward Productions, Pinehurst, North Carolina