More than ever our world needs Wisdom (Sophia in the Greek New Testament) to guide us all to healing, justice, equity, peace, and love. With the hope of Advent and Christmas, we sing of the continual birth of Sophia. We sing and celebrate the power of Sophia to make our hope reality. This carol video is a gift for your Christmas online worship services and personal meditations.
Growing up in church, I heard, “You may be the only Jesus some people see.” But all the names and images of the Divine were male, so how could I internalize that truth? Most churches today still use language and visual imagery that give messages of Incarnation as male, and many churches give messages of Incarnation as white male. Incarnation expresses the truth that Divinity assumes human flesh, not just male flesh, not just white flesh, but all human flesh. Incarnation includes all of us—all genders, all races, all cultures. “Celebrate Sophia’s Birth” seeks to express the inclusivity of Incarnation. Sophia is the Greek word for “Wisdom,” linked to Christ in Christian Scripture and tradition.
In the midst of a pandemic and widespread injustices, our country and our world are more than ever in deep need of Wisdom. But Sophia Wisdom and other female divine names and images continue to be excluded, as women have been excluded from leadership and still are in many religious traditions. Wisdom is sadly missing. Instead of Wisdom, we have white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, misogyny, sexism, heterosexism, exploitation of the earth, economic injustice, and other injustices. Instead of Wisdom, we have violence. Instead of Wisdom, we have greed. Instead of inclusive images of Deity that affirm all human beings as created in the divine image, we have exclusive images that devalue more than half of humanity. We need Sophia Wisdom and other female divine names and images so that there will be justice for females and for all human beings. Without Wisdom we all suffer.
Why then do most congregations continue to resist naming Her in worship? They still don’t get that by naming Wisdom, Her healing power will increase in the world. But maybe as one of my clergywomen friends said, they “get it,” but they just don’t “want it.” At some level they realize the power of naming Her to dismantle patriarchy at the foundation of multiple injustices, and they fear the changes that will come.
The good news is that we can see the continual birth of Sophia in our world today. We can see Her birth around our country and our world. More and more people are seeking Her healing paths of justice, peace, truth and life. More and more people are claiming the power of Her name.
Sing and celebrate Sophia, Tree of Life! Co-create with Her a world of justice, peace, equity, and love. Celebrate Sophia and give birth to new life!
Performed by: Spiral Muse (Lana Dalberg, Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, and Alison Newvine)from album “Sing of Peace,” recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA
Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom”
photo from The Gathering: A Womanist Church
Elaine Chan-Scherer: “Mary Magdalene”
Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover
David Clanton: “Tree of Life”
photo from Equity for Women in the Church event