Monday, Sept. 2, 2013
“God, like a woman long in labor, cries”—a hymn from Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Jann Aldredge-Clanton reminds us of a passage in Isaiah 42 where God is depicted as a woman in labor. In a blog post on her website, Jann explains the significance of this imagery and its message for us, and includes the hymn she wrote about it. She writes, “The prophet Isaiah pictures God crying out ‘like a woman in labor’ over injustices: ‘For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant’ (vs. 14).” She goes on to point out that “Whether or not we have experienced the labor of childbirth, we all labor and often suffer as we labor. Sometimes we suffer because our labor for justice seems in vain. Sometimes our work is rejected, demeaned, trivialized, discounted, criticized. This picture of Deity as a woman suffering in Her labor can encourage and strengthen us with the assurance that our labor takes part in God’s labor, and Her labor takes part in ours.”
Jann names some of the kinds of labor God calls us to do—“labor for economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, care of creation, and peace.” She assures us that God is laboring with us. Some of you will have already heard this hymn from Jann, but even if you have, you might want to take some time to listen to it again. You can watch the embedded video on Jann’s post or you can view it on YouTube. Jann Aldredge-Clanton is an active member of EEWC and serves on our executive council, in addition to her busy life as a minister, author, teacher, speaker, and chaplain.