by Bert Newton
A 12 foot Lady Wisdom puppet led the 2014 Palm Sunday Peace Parade in Pasadena, Calif. (Lady Wisdom is the personification of the wisdom of God by the sages in the books of Proverbs, Sirach, The Wisdom of Solomon, and Baruch.) This annual march for peace and justice moves from an economically and socially marginalized neighborhood to an upscale shopping mall just over a mile away. Upon reaching the mall this year, another puppet, Mammon, sitting atop his coach called “The Excess Express,” rushed the participants. Another group of puppets – a maid, a construction worker, a shopper, a businessman, and a soldier – were taken captive by the Excess Express, victims of greed and overconsumption. Lady Wisdom came to their rescue, sweeping in to liberate her people (you can see the pictures here). She, then, gave the following speech to the crowd of onlookers:
“I am wisdom
I am the deep knowledge of God, the deep knowledge of love, mercy, justice and the unity of all things.
I am the knowledge inside of you of things that you have forgotten, of things that you have put aside.
I am the knowledge within you that you cannot live at another’s expense; you cannot thrive by destroying the earth; that you cannot enjoy abundance that is fueled by poverty.
I am the people that you have forgotten: The virtual slave workers in Saipan that make your clothes; the ones in Bangladesh whose very bodies were crushed when the factories collapsed.
Their blood cries out! Their suffering is woven into the fabric of your everyday life.
I am the Wisdom of God and the Word of God.
I can liberate you from the machine that devours you, from the machine that devours workers and consumers and professionals and executives and the air, land and water and everything that is in them.
I am the knowledge of the unity of all things; I am deep inside of you where you know that you are all connected to each other and to the earth.
Deep inside you know that a society that incarcerates people for profit, that locks up its truth-tellers, that employs drones to enforce domination, that spews toxic gases into the air and poisons the rivers and the oceans cannot last very long.
Deep inside you know that you have been slaves too long, slaves to fear, career, and security.
And you know too, that you can be free, you can be born again.
I am your Mother ready to give you new birth. I am the image of God inside of you.
Day and night I cry out to you, cry out from within you.
I am not in heaven that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get her for us so that we might hear her and see her?” Neither am I beyond the sea that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get her for us?” No the Word is very near to you; I am in your mouth and in your heart.
Day and night I call out to you!
I am crucified Wisdom, nailed to a cross and rising from the grave.
Eat my bread! Drink my wine!
You are my chosen ones, my children whom I have gathered together.
Do not look to the strong, to those who are wise in the ways of the world, in the ways of empire and domination; do not follow after those who trust in their own superiority.
For God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are!
You are created in the image of God, to be children of God!
I consider the sufferings of this present age not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed in you. Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.
Who can separate you from the love of God? Will hardship or distress, or drones or incarceration, or storms or droughts, or homelessness, or hunger, or bombs?
As it is written: For Love’s sake we are killed all the day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things you are more than conquerors!
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all the world will be able to separate you from the love of God incarnated in the lives of those who dare to remember who they are and whose they are.
Faith, hope and love abide these three, but the greatest of these, the deepest Wisdom of God, is Love.”
Bert Newton is the author of Subversive Wisdom; Sociopolitical Dimensions of John’s Gospel