Advent Reflection: Week 4

Advent Greetings!
In these days of Advent we invite you to pause in reflection and prayer with the Open Table Community. Each Sunday of Advent we will send a meditative reflection to your inbox. (You can sign up here.) Use them for your own Advent study, use them in your community of faith or share them around your dinner table. Though we are spread across the country, and around the world, may these weekly reflections connect us to each other and to God.
The Open Table Cooperative Board

At WildWood Gathering during these weeks of Advent we are are exploring Holy Wisdom, a figure of the feminine Divine. This Divine feminine of Holy Wisdom appears in sections of the book of Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon, along with the Wisdom of Jesus, son of Sirah. These writings celebrate the attributes of Holy Wisdom, also known as Sophia or Chochmah, as an embodiment of the Holy. Wisdom was God’s first creation. Considered by some to be God’s first child. Wisdom is beyond time, she was with God in the beginning, co-creating the world into being. Rabbi Rami Shapiro writes in his book, The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature, “Wisdom is the Hebrew Mother, Chochmah, who becomes the Greek Son, Logos,” The story used to foretell the coming of Jesus, borrows, adapts, and in some sense hijacks the Hebrew feminine embodiment of Holy Wisdom.

We might presume that the author of John knew his audience would be familiar with Wisdom’s intimate relation to God the Creator and wanted to capture that symbolism in how he wrote about the Logos illustrating the relationship of Jesus to God.

From the Wisdom of Solomon;
“What is Wisdom?
She is intelligent, holy, unique, subtle, flowing, transparent, and pure;
She is distinct, invulnerable, good, keen, irresistible, and gracious;
She is humane, faithful, sure, calm, all-powerful, all-seeing, and available to all who are intelligent, pure, and altogether simple.
She is the breath of God, a clear emanation of Divine Glory, no impurity can stain Her.
She is God’s spotless mirror reflecting eternal light and the image of divine goodness.”
Wisdom is eternal light. She reflects and emanates eternal light.

From the Gospel of John, a familiar passage;

“In the Word was life,
and that life was humanities light,
a light that shines in the darkness
and the darkness did not overcome it.”
A light it coming.
A light it here.
Embodied in Holy Wisdom, who is in and through all things.
Foretold and embodied in the person of Jesus.
And embodied and exemplified in us too.

The more I study Wisdom the more I see and know the stories of Jesus in a deeper and more full way. There is a thread that carries through, illuminating along the way a deep and abiding Wisdom. Feminine. Divine. Wise. Saving. Empowering. Holy.

In these days of Advent, as we prepare and proclaim again the birth of Jesus the savior, we proclaim again the presence of Sophia, Holy Wisdom.

You can read the full sermons from our series on the WildWords Blog.

Written by Elizabeth Ullery Swenson

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