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Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
“To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. – Proverbs 8
In addition to my parish pastoral ministry, this past year I have garnered opportunities to travel and speak at conferences, universities, and churches. I have loved being rooted in a specific congregational context while participating in larger conversations. When I travel to different locations I am not only bringing my vocation of teaching and preaching, but I am astutely listening to what the Spirit of God is doing in that context. I desire to listen in the intuitive capacity as much as I speak. What is God doing here and how is God leading Her people to freedom? Where is the life of the Spirit here? Where is justice, unity, and reconciliation being an enacted here? These are the types of questions I ask when I travel.
Two weeks ago I preached on the Call of Wisdom to the congregation I serve from Proverbs 8. Wisdom is a rabble-rouser. Wisdom is active in civil life. Wisdom stands tall with dignity. Wisdom desires life. Wisdom is movement and is calling to those who listen. Wisdom is personified as a woman leading in her city.
I’ve been thinking about the wise women I’ve met in my travels this year, like wisdom in Proverbs 8, who raise their voice and create a new world. Wise ones who stand tall, truth-tell, and point us in the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading us.
Wise women like Pastor Hannah Boner who has been leading a vigil for Sandra Bland in Waller County, Texas for over 300 days. Pastor Hannah calls out in the city as she, and her friends, ask, “What really happened to Sandra Bland?” Pastor Hannah is active in the street and pulpit calling for accountability and justice in our police enforcement.
Wise women like Mariana Thomas, Mahogany Thomas, Odessia Nicole Brown, Whitney Bond, Candace Simpson, and many other women of color who traverse the political corridors of theological education. Wise women who keep their schools accountable and whose theological and pastoral prowess lead the academy and church into more honest faithfulness.
Wise women like my friend Pastor Emily Scott, church planter of St. Lydia’s Dinner Church here in New York City, whose wisdom song brings forth people around a dinner table and Scripture so that people are nourished in body and spirit.
Wise women like Duke professor, Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, who said “If you don’t want to use a public restroom with a trans person, stay home, one less bigot in the bathroom makes the world a better place.” Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?
Wise women like Besa Ismaili in Kosovo who I met at the White House this year who is leading the way for interfaith peacemaking in her country and women’s rights. She is a wise woman whose Islamic faith inspires her to reach out in the name of justice and for her people to live.
As I spoke and traveled this year, Wisdom called out and spoke to me. These are just some of the people that Wisdom is speaking through. Certainly many more could be added to this list. The wise women who write for The 12 could be added to this list! One of the things I noticed is that Wisdom doesn’t keep quiet. Both in Proverbs 8 and in my travels, Wisdom is the one provoking to truth so that new creation may be possible.
Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? Indeed, She uses her voice and knows her power and speaks standing straight up looking at the one she is speaking to in the face. Wisdom is calling…do you not hear?