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Desperately seeking

SOPHIA

Joyce Rupp

What once was lost, is now being found again:
the scriptural jewel of Holy Wisdom, Sophia.

   At a retreat where I referred to Sophia several times in my first presentation, a man suddenly stood up and blurted out: "Just who is this Sophia? Stop assuming that everyone knows who you are talking about!" His interruption startled me, and it reminded me that many do not know this jewel in scripture, that Sophia is hidden from many.

     His question was also a challenge because I know that introducing Sophia would take a while to do. So much of the heritage has been lost and must be recovered. Fortunately, he stayed for the whole weekend, so we had time to talk. I found him open, ready to learn and to grow. As we departed, the two of us had a new appreciation for one another and for the gift of Sophia. He left with gratitude for discovering a new way of relating to the Holy One. I left with renewed appreciation for the journey I have traveled with Sophia.

     As I spoke about Sophia, I reflected back to 13 years earlier when I had received a letter one spring day from a publisher asking me to contribute a book to their women's series. I wanted to say yes but wasn't sure what I might write. It took me four months before I responded to that letter.

    At the time I was caring for my friend's 6-year-old daughter. We were out in the rose garden where I was enjoying the happy child as she danced around the flowers, singing with glee. While I watched Elizabeth playing, something stirred inside of me and I found myself reaching for pen and paper.

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picture of Sophia


     I wrote a book proposal on something that had enticed me time and again: my attraction to wisdom in scripture. At that time I had very limited knowledge of the biblical books of wisdom and did not know yet that in the Greek translation the words for Holy Wisdom are Hagia Sophia. I also had no awareness that this Sophia would offer me a fresh and deeply profound way of relating to the divine.

     Only much later did I realize that the image of little Elizabeth playing among the roses was reflective of the beautiful passage in Proverbs 8 in which Sophia is described as being at the beginning of creation: "When there were no depths, I was brought forth ... when God established the heavens, I was there ... playing before [God] all the while ..." (Prov. 8:24, 30). It was this connection that elicited my desire to explore and write about wisdom.

     That surprising moment was the beginning of a long and wonderful journey of exploration and research. When my book proposal was accepted, I took a deep gulp and asked myself: "Just what, or who, is this beautiful figure that Proverbs describes as a partner with the "Holy One?"


Divine Wisdom as "she"

I began by reading and meditating each day on one of the scripture passages referring to Holy Wisdom. As I prayed, I noticed how Sophia was always referred to as "she." This amazed me , even though I knew there were many ways to describe and relate to God.

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"Desperately Seeking Sophia"     Page 1    Page 2     Page 3    Page 4 

HomeOrder | Circle of Life | Cosmic Dance | Cup | Dear Heart  | Fresh Bread | God's Enduring Presence | Goodbyes | Inviting God | Open the Door | Ordinary |
Rest Your Dreams | Sophia | Sorrow
| Star | Walk Home |
Walk Relaxed | Articles | Poems | Interview | Reviews | Audio | Schedule | Response | About This Site