“O Come, Christ-Sophia” Christmas Carol Video

The first hymn I wrote was “O Come, Christ-Sophia” to the tune of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” I had written about the biblical and historical connections between Christ and Sophia (Greek word for “Wisdom” in the New Testament), and had been wondering what it would have been like if I’d grown up singing about adoring “Her” (as well as “Him”).

Recently I heard a young girl ask, “What if Mary hadn’t had a boy?” Children notice and learn from our naming of the Divine. What if this young girl and all people had their equal sacred value affirmed through our naming of the Divine? The incarnation of the Divine comes in all genders and races. Christ-Sophia is a divine name and image celebrating the Divine in all people.

Our world longs for the coming of Christ-Sophia, who embodies wisdom, justice, peace, equity, grace, mutual relationship, and new life.

O come, Christ-Sophia, full of grace and wisdom;
come bless us, come challenge us to make life anew.
Come, bring us power, beauty, hope, and harmony.

We long for your coming, labor for your birthing,
for you are our hope of peace, our power for change.
Come, Christ-Sophia, break down walls and free us.

Rejoice all you people, sisters, brothers, join now
to sing of a bright new day just dawning for all.
Sing now a new song; sing with jubilation.

REFRAIN

O come now, Christ-Sophia; O come now, Christ-Sophia;
O come now, Christ-Sophia, Wisdom and peace.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton

“Christ-Sophia” is a biblical symbol of the Divine, making equal connections among genders, races, and religious traditions, thus providing a foundation for communities based on partnership. Christ-Sophia brings change to church and society by providing a theological foundation for gender and racial equality.

Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom, is a biblical female divine image that opens new possibilities for justice, liberation, and new life. New Testament writers link Christ to Wisdom, a feminine symbol of God in the Hebrew Scriptures. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as the “power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) 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). My book In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians gives a thorough explanation of the connections between Christ and Sophia (Wisdom) in Scripture and in Christian tradition.

Christ-Sophia inspires continual new birth. Christ-Sophia empowers us to make the Gospel vision of the new creation a reality. Sing of peace and justice and new life! Sing and celebrate the coming of Christ-Sophia!

Video Credits

Performed by: Spiral Muse (formerly Devi Vaani)—Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, and Alison Newvine with Lana Dalberg on violin—from album Sing of Peace, recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:

Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover

Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom”

photos from The Gathering: A Womanist Church

Alice Heimsoth: photos in sanctuary of Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco

Elaine Chan-Scherer: “Our Lady of Charity: La Caridad” & “Divine Child”

David Clanton: photo from Equity for Women in the Church “Calling in the Key of She” event, and photos of children dancing & children singing, from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God events

Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”

Mirta Toledo: “Saint Sophia”

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“Sing of Peace, Holy Peace” Video

This holy season invites us to sing of a world of peace. We can envision an end to violence in nations, in schools, on city streets, in homes. We can sing of the change our hearts long for. We can sing our visions of peace into reality. We can sing of peace and justice for all people and all creation.

Through the Holy Darkness of this season, we celebrate the coming of Christ-Sophia to change our world. We celebrate the birth of peace, hope, love, and joy.

Sing of peace, holy peace;
sing of all gifts released.
As we work for peace on earth,
new creation comes to birth;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Sing of peace, holy peace.
When will all violence cease?
Through our justice work each day,
Wisdom comes to show the way;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Sing of peace, holy peace;
hope and joy now increase.
Through our works of love each day,
Holy Wisdom comes to stay;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Christ-Sophia is being re-birthed into our world. Christ-Sophia was present before all time and continues to break into our world with promises of hope and healing for all people and all creation.

“Christ-Sophia” is a biblical symbol of the Divine, making equal connections among genders, races, and religious traditions, thus laying a foundation for communities based on partnership instead of domination. Christ-Sophia brings change to church and society by providing a foundation for gender and racial equality.

Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom, is a biblical female divine image that opens new possibilities for justice, peace, and new life. New Testament writers link Christ to Wisdom, a female symbol of God 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) 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, 13, 26). The Gospel of John refers to Christ as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Bringing this biblical connection of Christ and Sophia to our worship can inspire partnerships that contribute to peace and justice in our world. Christ-Sophia inspires continual new birth. Christ-Sophia empowers us to make the Gospel vision of the new creation a reality.

Sing of peace and justice and new life! Sing and celebrate the birth of Christ-Sophia!

Video Credits

Performed by: Spiral Muse (formerly Devi Vaani)—Alison Newvine, Dionne Kohler, Lana Dalberg, and Kathleen Neville-Fritz—from album Sing of Peace, recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:

Katherine Skaggs, “Black Madonna

Mirta Toledo: “Saint Sophia”

Elaine Chan-Scherer: “Guadalupe” and two untitled Sacred Feminine paintings

Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover

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“Our Mother Within Us” Video

This Christmas song video celebrates a prominent biblical female name and image of the Divine, coming in diverse races and cultures. The talented musical group Spiral Muse sings “Our Mother Within Us” to the tune of “Away in a Manger.”

Our Mother within us, so holy and blessed,
You nurture our spirits with comfort and rest.
O give us Your wisdom and strength for each day,
and fill us with love for all people, we pray.

Our Mother within us, so many Your names,
revealing our power, You help us to claim
our voices of courage to speak against wrong,
and joy overflowing to sing a new song.

O Mother within us, forever abide,
with blessings unfolding and arms open wide;
You give us new visions of life full and fair:
Your angels surround us with tenderest care.

Maternal divine names and imagery occur throughout the Bible. The prophet Isaiah pictures God as a loving, comforting Mother: “As a Mother comforts Her children, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). Isaiah also reveals that God is like nursing Mother whose relationship with Her children is so strong that nothing can ever break it. (Isaiah 49:15) Biblical maternal images also include “Mother Eagle” (Deuteronomy 32:11-12), “Mother Rock“ (Deuteronomy 32:18), “Mother Bear” (Hosea 13:8), and “Mother Hen” (Matthew 23:37).

Church fathers and mothers also celebrated “Mother” and other female divine names and images. John Calvin stated that in “no other way than by maternal names and images can God’s ardent love for us and tenderness of affection be expressed.” Earlier, St. Anselm of Canterbury commented that “since the Bible refers to God and Christ as ‘Truth’ and ‘Wisdom,’ both feminine nouns, we could call them ‘Mother and “Daughter.’” Anselm prays to Jesus as Mother, using the imagery of Matthew 23:37:  “But you also, Jesus, are you not also Mother? Are you not Mother, who are as a hen who gathers her own chicks under her wings? Christ Mother, who gathers your chicks under your wings, this your dead chick throws itself under your wings.” Fourteenth century mystic Julian of Norwich described visions she received of the Trinity: “As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother. God is our kindly Father; and God, All-Wisdom, is our kindly Mother; with the love and the Goodness of the Holy Ghost.”

Although many churches limit God to male names and images, Scripture and Christian tradition do not limit the Divine to maleness. In the Bible and in church history we find a multiplicity of divine names and images, including maternal and other female divine names and images.

The song “Our Mother Within Us” also draws from a prayer by Sister Miriam Therese Winter, professor of liturgy, worship, and spirituality at Hartford Seminary. New Wineskins Community has used this empowering prayer in our liturgies since the beginning of our community 25 years ago.

Our Mother who is within us,
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us.
As it was in the beginning, so shall it be now.

“Our Mother Within Us” refers also to the biblical call to sing to God a “new song” (Psalm 96:1; 144:9). This new song to a familiar tune is my response with the hope that singing new songs that include female names and images of the Divine will contribute to a new story of love, peace, and justice in the world.

Video Credits

Performed by: Spiral Muse —Dionne Kohler, Lana Dalberg, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, and Alison Newvine—from album Sing of Peace, recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:

Alice Heimsoth: two photos of Divine Feminine paintings by Shiloh Sophia

two photos from Equity for Women in the Church “Calling in the Key of She” events

Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover

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Christmas Carol Video: “O Holy Darkness”

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

This Christmas season gives us a wonderful opportunity to sing carols for racial and gender 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. Imaging darkness/blackness as sacred lays a foundation for affirming that “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” The Creative Spirit works in the darkness of the night, the soul, 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, as nurturing love, and as creative bounty. 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.” “O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb” also includes Sophia (Greek word for “Wisdom” in the New Testament), a female divine name and image. Sophia is most often pictured as dark. The treasures of Her darkness inspire us all to claim our sacredness and to affirm the sacredness in all others.

It was a joy to collaborate on this video with Shannon Kincaid, an outstanding vocal and visual artist. Shannon sings “O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb” to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Her beautiful painting of Oprah Winfrey holding a child creates a powerful finale for this video.

Shannon painted “Oprah and Child” to get attention on a national scale for the cause of women with ovarian cancer. For many years Shannon has been a generous, tireless advocate for this cause. She generously gave her artistic talent for the covers of two books of stories by ovarian cancer survivors: TORCH: Tales of Remarkable Courage and Hope and TORCH: Still Burning Brightly. To get Oprah’s attention to do a show featuring ovarian cancer survivors, Shannon painted a large picture of Oprah cradling a child and sent it to her with all the TORCH materials inside the crate.

After a long and winding road, Oprah met with Shannon, accepted the painting, and promised to let her know if she ever discussed ovarian cancer at some point on her show. In February after this meeting in October, Oprah chose an ovarian cancer fund as one of her favorite ten charities. Soon after, The Oprah Winfrey Show went off the air, but Oprah influenced Dr. Oz to highlight the cause of ovarian cancer on two of his shows. Shannon’s painting of Oprah now hangs above the fireplace in the library of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Video Credits

Performed by: Shannon Kincaid

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:

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.

David Clanton: “Garden for Good or Evil”

Mirta Toledo: “Sophia”

Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah & Child”

Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”

Instruments:

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

Music Produced/Arranged by: Ron DiIulio

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“Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” Video

On this first Sunday of Advent, “Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” video comes as a gift to you. Advent commemorates the coming of the Divine into our world. This song video celebrates the Divine in the form of diverse cultures, races, and genders, bringing justice and peace to our world.

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.

“Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” contributes to racial and gender equality by celebrating multicultural, gender-inclusive names and images 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.

The Black Madonna is prominent around the world because of the miraculous nature of this image. Since the Middle Ages, the Black Madonna has been associated with miracles. Miracles have been attributed to the Black Madonna of Montpellier in France since 878. She is believed to have saved Montpellier from drought and plague. She is a stronger image of the Eternal Feminine than light-skinned Madonnas, and a more historically accurate image of Mary, a Semitic woman of the Middle East.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is another widely venerated, miraculous Divine Feminine image. She first appeared to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego and gave him roses in the midst of winter. When Juan Diego took the cloak that Guadalupe had filled with roses to the archbishop to prove the miracle, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric of the cloak was Her image. Our Lady of Guadalupe has become a powerful sacred symbol of hope and help.

The name “Christ-Sophia” is a symbol of divinity that makes equal connection between male and female, black and white, Jewish and Christian traditions, thus providing a model for a community in which all live in partnership. “Christ-Sophia” draws from the biblical and historical connection between Christ and “Wisdom,” a female name for the Divine in Hebrew Scriptures (Hokmah) and in Christian Scriptures (Sophia). The apostle Paul describes Christ as “the power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Sophia from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the way, the life, and the path (Proverbs 4). The writer of the gospel of John refers to Christ as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

These multicultural, gender-inclusive names and images of the Divine hold promise for inspiring social justice through shared power. This Advent season we can sing and celebrate the Divine coming into our world in diverse races and genders.  Our inclusive worship inspires powerful partnerships that contribute to peace and justice.

Video Credits

Performed by: Spiral Muse (formerly Devi Vaani)—Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, and Alison Newvine with Lana Dalberg on violin—from album Sing of Peace, recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:
Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover

Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom”

David Clanton: photo of children and adults dancing, from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God event

Shonna McDaniels: “Black Madonna”

Katherine Skaggs: “Black Madonna and Child”

Mirta Toledo: “Saint Sophia”

Stacy Boorn: “Purple and Orange”

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