I am spending International Women’s Day in a library. I suppose I could feel sorry for myself, but I don’t. Not in the least. How many women around the world would give anything they own to be able to pursue academic and intellectual pursuits – but for reasons of culture, poverty or prejudice cannot. Not only am I in a library, I am writing liturgies that honour Creation in all its forms. My companion for the day is Wisdom, that elusive Biblical figure – feminine in form – who binds all things together, who orders all things well, whose guidance is worth more than silver and gold. In honour of International Women’s Day, I offer Proverbs 8:22-31, the “other” creation story, the one that presents an image of the world as co-created in wonder and delight:
Wisdom’s Part in Creation (NRSV)
The LORD created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.