This is a sonnet based upon the Great O Antiphon, O Sapientia which is sung on December 17. The antiphon reads,

“O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,

reaching from one end to the other mightily,

and sweetly ordering all things:

Come and teach us the way of prudence.”

Along with the references to Genesis 1, John 1, Proverbs 8, and Exodus 20, I draw from Isaiah 11:2-4a for inspiration.

Of those gifts for which we long, wisdom is one which we constantly seek: Should I do this or that? Should I go here or there? How do I do this? What will enable me to endure that? What answer will satisfy the deeply troubling question of, Why? All these questions wisdom, knowledge, and insight answer.

I have written a sonnet about Proverbs 8’s embodiment of wisdom as the most desirable woman here. In Advent and through John 1, we understand that wisdom is the logos, the “word which has become flesh and dwelt among us.”  This is the word who was present at creation, who is the righteousness of the Law, and who is the the embodiment of Isaiah 11’s king who is also the root and tender shoot of Jesse.

One of the defining marks of the gospel’s wisdom is its irony. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong”. The sophistry and might of worldliness is shouted down by the cries of a baby delivered to a teenage mother, on the fringes of society, far from the lighted centers of power, influence, and authority.

As we face and admit our longing this Advent, let’s remember our longing for and need of wisdom. Come, O Wisdom!

If it is helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player embedded below.

In the silence, before song and speech

The Spirit breathes o’er the water’s night;

Wisdom inhales all creation to teach

Awaiting the command, “Let there be light!”

O’er Sinai the I AM’s glory thunders

Wisdom speaks again, makes His glory known

Writes with his own hand in worded wonders

Promise revealed onto tablets of stone.

Isaiah’s King shall rule with right wisdom.

Jesse’s leaf and root, a counselor with sight

With justice leads the poor in his kingdom

Lifts up the meek, sets brokenness aright.

Tonight, Wisdom waits, poised in the world’s wild–

Exhales in the darkness through the cries of a child.

This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud in worship services, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks!

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