Advent in a Pandemic

Sophia, Divine Wisdom, by Mary Plaster

Still in the midst of a pandemic, our Advent celebrations this year present new challenges and opportunities. Advent commemorates the continual coming of the Divine into our world. We need the Advent of the Divine more than ever during these challenging days.

On this first Sunday of Advent, “Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” song video comes as a gift for you to use in your online services, in your personal meditations, or in any way you find helpful. This song celebrates the Divine in the form of diverse genders, races, and cultures, bringing healing, hope, love, justice, and peace.

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.


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 (from Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice by Jann Aldredge-Clanton with composer Larry E. Schultz)

“Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” contributes to racial and gender equality and justice 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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