Caroling for Gender and Racial Justice

This Christmas season gives us a wonderful opportunity to sing carols for gender and racial justice. Our music can contribute to racial equality as well as gender equality.

Worship language and symbolism all too often contribute to racism as well as sexism. In many hymns, prayers, scripture readings, and sermons, images of darkness carry negative connotations while images of light carry positive connotations. Visual images of a white God fill many churches. This symbolism gives greatest value to white people while devaluing people of color.

Multicultural visual images of Deity and language that symbolizes darkness as creative bounty and beauty contribute to racial equality by affirming the equal sacred value of people of color. The Creative Spirit works in the darkness of the night, the earth, the womb. Multicultural images of Deity intersect with female images of Deity to form a foundation for equality and justice.

“O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb” images darkness as a sacred well of richest beauty. This song draws from Isaiah 45:3 that celebrates “the treasures of darkness” and from the Hebrew word rahum, usually translated “compassion” in the Bible, but Hebrew Bible scholar Phyllis Trible shows that it’s more accurately translated “womb-love.” The treasures of Her darkness inspire us all to claim our sacredness and to affirm the sacredness in all others.

O Holy Darkness, loving Womb, who nurtures and creates,
sustain us through the longest night with dreams of open gates.
We move inside to mystery that in our center dwells,
where streams of richest beauty flow from sacred, living wells.
 
Creative Darkness, closest Friend, you whisper in the night;
you calm our fears as unknown paths surprise us with new sight.
We marvel at your bounty, your gifts so full and free,
unfolding as you waken us to new reality.
 
O Holy Night of deepest bliss, we celebrate your power;
infuse us with your energy that brings our seeds to flower.
The voice out of the darkness excites our warmest zeal
to bring together dark and light, true holiness reveal.
 
O come to us, Sophia; your image, black and fair,
stirs us to end injustice and the wounds of earth repair.
The treasures of your darkness and riches of your grace
inspire us to fulfill our call, our sacredness embrace.

Words  © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006)

Vocal Artist: Shannon Kincaid

Visual Artists:

Stacy Boorn: “Mystery,” “Smokey Sky,” “Mother & Child,” “Dancing after Work at ‘Speak I’m Listening,’” “Streams,” “Sunset,” “Feather Dance,” “Sunrise Crete,” “Holy Night,” “Addis Ababa Market Vendors,” “Seeds to Flower,” and “LightDarkness” © Stacy Boorn. Used with permission.
David Clanton: “Garden for Good or Evil” © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.
Mirta Toledo: “Sophia” © 2003 Mirta Toledo
Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah & Child”
Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”

Instrumentalists:

Keyboard: Ron DiIulio
Guitar: Danny Hubbard
Bass & Percussion: Jerry Hancock

Music Producer/Arranger: Ron DiIulio

The next carol “Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” contributes to racial and gender equality by celebrating multicultural female names for Deity.

“Wisdom” is an ancient divine name, common to many religions and cultures. She is Hokmah in the Hebrew Bible, Hikmah in Arabic in the Quran, and Sophia in the Greek New Testament. Visual images of Wisdom have traditionally been dark or a combination of dark and light. This song also affirms the sacred value of people of color by praising Black Madonna and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The final stanza links races and genders in equal sacred value through the name “Christ-Sophia,” who connects the Jewish Jesus with Wisdom (Sophia) in both ancient and hellenized Judaism and draws from both Egyptian and Greek sacred symbols.

Ancient Wisdom, Mother of earth, bringing all creation to birth,
with Her power, we will flower, feeling our sacred worth.

Black Madonna, Mother of all, loving us whatever befalls,
always guiding and abiding, within our hearts She calls.

Guadalupe, Lady and Queen, from Her holy treasures we glean;
She is healing and revealing more than we’ve ever seen.

Christ-Sophia, Mystery of Old, in our souls Her blessings unfold,
Love abiding, always guiding into a future bold.

REFRAIN:

O now return to Her for peace;
hope and justice will increase.
Re-creating, liberating, She will all our dreams release.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton; Music © Devi Vaani,
from Sing of Peace

Painting by Katie Ketchum, photography and image effects by Stacy Boorn

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2 Comments

  1. Colette Numajiri
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    These are GLORIOUS!!! I love my CD, keep them coming! You’re changing EVERYTHING. @)>——-

  2. janna
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Colette, for your kind words of encouragement! You are also changing everything through your creative writing and art reclaiming HER!!!

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