Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton offers us new words to sing to a familiar Christian tune (I know it best as “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation …”) this Easter morning, here performed by the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jann describes the inspiration for these new words:
“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 male and female, black and white, Jewish and Christian 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 feminine 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.
Here is a sample of the lyrics, quite a departure from the “Lord” and “King” of creation!
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.
(h/t to my friend Pat who helped me remember the more familiar words to Lobe den Herren.)