by Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Inclusive language and imagery hold great power to bring freedom for women and for all people. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). The lyrics in “We Sound a Call to Freedom” draw from this verse and from the words in Isaiah on breaking “the bonds of injustice” and letting “the oppressed go free” (58:6).
“We Sound a Call to Freedom” brings the freeing truth of biblical Divine Wisdom to light. Even though Wisdom is a prominent name for God in the Bible, Divine Wisdom is ignored and excluded in most churches. Just as women have been excluded from leadership and still are in numerous churches, Divine Wisdom may be excluded from worship because the Bible presents Divine Wisdom as female and refers to Divine Wisdom as “She.” Also, people don’t always want to know about Her paths of peace and justice (Proverbs 3:13-18; 8:1-20). Divine Wisdom is one of the many biblical female images of God. Including these female images along with other biblical divine images to create gender-balanced worship will expand our spiritual experience and contribute to equality and justice in human relationships.
This video celebrates the power of Divine Wisdom to bring healing, justice, peace, and freedom to all people and all creation. Sophia is the Greek word for “Wisdom” in the Christian Scriptures. The last line of the refrain of “We Sound a Call to Freedom” is “Now, Sophia, you have freed us! Your truth has set us free.” For the complete lyrics see Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians and my blog post “Changing Church Resource: ‘We Sound a Call to Freedom’ Video.” (Recording artist Shannon Kincaid sings the lyrics on this video.)
The Bible links Sophia (Wisdom) to Christ. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as the “power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Wisdom (Sophia) from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the “way,” the “life,” and the “path” (4:11, 22, 26). The Gospel of John records Jesus’ saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The Bible describes both Wisdom (Sophia) and Christ as having creative, redemptive, and healing power. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus identifies with Wisdom (Sophia): “the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet Wisdom (Sophia) is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19). My book In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians gives a thorough explanation of the connection between Christ and Sophia (Wisdom) in Scripture and in Christian tradition.
The pictures I chose to illustrate the lyrics in “We Sound a Call to Freedom” celebrate diversity in race, culture, and gender. The Sophia image by Mirta Toledo blends races and illustrates what Rev. Rebecca Kiser calls “gender-full.” The video also includes pictures of people from a variety of races and genders to show that the truth of Sophia (Wisdom) brings healing and freedom to everyone. The picture of the woman carrying a torch, by artist Shannon Kincaid, is on the cover of two books of stories by women in an ovarian cancer support group I’ve facilitated as a chaplain: TORCH: Tales of Remarkable Courage and Hope and TORCH Still Burning Brightly. The lighted torch symbolizes the passing of hope from one cancer survivor to another.
May this video increase your hope and your experience of Divine Wisdom’s power to set us all free to be all we’re meant to be!
© 2013 by EEWC-Christian Feminism Today