“Come Now, O Wisdom”

Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton has shared a new resource for those interested in more inclusive and justice oriented sacred music, this one with new words set to another familiar Christian hymn (“Lord of all hopefulness / Lord of all joy”) written by a woman, Jan Struther, who incidentally is most well-known for creating the character Mrs. Miniver.

About her new lyrics, Aldredge-Clanton writes:

Many years ago I preached a sermon with this introduction:  “What ever happened to Wisdom?  In all my years growing up in Sunday school and church I never heard of God as Wisdom.  I never heard God referred to as ‘She,’ even though the Bible uses Wisdom as a feminine personification of God.  In much of human history Wisdom has been sadly missing.  Instead of Wisdom, we have had injustice.  Instead of Wisdom, we have had wars.  Instead of Wisdom, we have had hierarchy and greed.  Instead of inclusive images of Deity that affirm all human beings as created in the divine image, we have had exclusive images that devalue half of humanity—females.  We need a faith that includes worship of feminine Wisdom so that there will be justice for females and for all human beings.  Without Wisdom we all suffer.  Wisdom brings power for change.  She leads us on paths of peace.  She is better than gold or any wealth or approval.  In a world of divisions and brokenness, wars and violence, Wisdom can bring peace and wholeness.”

In the years since I preached this sermon, much of my ministry and writing have been focused on seeking Wisdom.  In our world today with increasing violence against women and others considered “less than,” increasing violence of all kinds, and increasing injustices, I am more convinced than ever that we are in deep need of Her peace and healing.

Here is the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Chancel Choir, orchestra, and congregation singing “Come Now O Wisdom” with a lovely set of images to accompany the music:

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And, here are some of the lyrics:

Come now, O Wisdom, we need your clear voice;

speak and awaken our hearts to rejoice.

Gracious Creator of more than we know,

in your own image may we ever grow.


Come now, O Wisdom, abide in our souls;

stir in us visions of life free and whole.

Wisdom, our pathway to justice and peace,

with you our dreams find their fullest release.


For more resources for inclusive worship, head over to Jann’s blog.


About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.