Another image for the Holy Spirit in Scripture is the one given in Proverbs, centering on Proverbs 8, as Lady Wisdom, the feminine side of God’s character who played together with God in the beginning yet was also God, and worked together with God in shaping all of creation.
In Proverbs, Lady Wisdom is pictured as going out into creation, calling out for wayward children of humanity to come home to her, to be taught the ways that bring life, meaning, wholeness.
Matthew Fox writes about this inner wisdom the Spirit as Lady Wisdom grants us in his book Original Blessing.
“we are all born with an original wisdom [so that] life’s task is to set up this tent of wisdom, which comes to us small and folded up as children. This rich image is mirrored in the work of … Buddhist nun, Pema Chodran who writes: ‘This is our birthright – the wisdom with which we were born, the vast unfolding of primordial richness, primordial openness, primordial wisdom itself… [We must] realize that we don’t have to obscure the joy and openness that is present in every moment of our existence. We can awaken to basic goodness, our birthright” (6).
Similar language is used by Rowan William writes, in “The Body’s Grace”:
“The whole story of creation, incarnation and our incorporation into the fellowship of Christ’s body tells us that God desires us, as if we were God, as if we were that unconditional response to God’s giving that God’s self makes in the life of the trinity. We are created so that we may be caught up in this; so that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God. The life of the Christian community has as its rationale – if not invariably its practical reality – the task of teaching us this: so ordering our relations that human beings may see themselves as desired, as the occasion of joy.”
Some time ago I wrote the following poem as a celebration of the Spirit’s role in our life as Lady Wisdom.
Voiceless from the pain
a choked whisper catches in my throat
one word: “Save!”
I have fallen upon gravel road
night dark about me
blanketed by frigid shadows
Howling voices cry out
“Failure! Liar! Cheat! Scum!”
from eyes aglow dripping crimson
and glistening teeth
hot air on my neck
wind like wolves panting for blood.
My eyes shut, terrified
Muscles stiffen, jaw clenches
body and soul ready for the final blow.
Then a voice, like the fall of rose petals
afloat in spring breezes
whispers melodic in my ears
“Child, you are safe”
A gentle grip lifts me
eyes flickering in shock
glimpses of luminescent limbs holding me tight
relax my rigid frame.
I know no more.
My eyes open in my father’s house
safe and secure,
the rosy fingers of morning caressing me awake
the din of night now long forgotten.
Looking down, I am bandaged,
still broken but healing.
Safe by her caring hands.
“Sister Spirit, who are you?”
I cry, as tears of joy drip
thick as summer storm.
Over the tumult of my cries
a sound like silence echoes
those gilded halls,
and in the whispering winter winds
I could almost swear I hear a name:
What is your experience as the Holy Spirit as the one who weaves wisdom into our lives and the fabric of the world itself, and the One who woos us into relationship with that wisdom? What is your inner wisdom?
Your progressive redneck preacher,