"I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Son, let this woman be a bride to you in the restoration of my people. Let her be a mother for these people, regenerating souls through the salvation of spirit and water.'" (Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hymn: Crown Her With Many Crowns



Crown her with many crowns, great Wisdom, Queen of all,
Whose justice spreads from east to west at her life-giving call;
Who brings all things to birth through love that knows no end,
And came in Christ to dwell on earth: our Mother, Lover, Friend.

Crown her with many crowns, just Wisdom, Queen of truth,
Who speaks to all through Christ her Son in midlife, age, and youth;
Who cries out for her poor with love that knows no end,
And comes in strangers at our door: our Mother, Lover, Friend.

Crown her with many crowns, strong Wisdom, Queen of peace,
Who heals our wounds, transforms our hearts, brings freedom and release;
Who calls us to come home to love that knows no end,
Yet waits with patience while we roam: our Mother, Lover, Friend.

Crown her with many crowns, dark Wisdom, Queen of night,
Who folds us close in sweet embrace, her face so black and bright;
Who silently draws near in love that knows no end,
And meets us in our doubt and fear: our Mother, Lover, Friend.

Crown her with many crowns, sweet Wisdom, Queen of love,
Who breathes her Spirit through the spheres, a fiery gentle dove;
Who fills our hearts with mirth and love that knows no end,
That we might tend her sacred earth: our Mother, Lover, Friend.

Text: Laura Marie Grimes,for Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, copyright 2012
Tune: Diademata 6 6 8 6 (Crown Him With Many Crowns)

The hymn was one of two written during a powerful private Advent retreat several years ago at the Jesuit retreat center where I made my 30 Day "Long Retreat" Spiritual Exercises in summer 2000. It was inspired by prayer before this image of Our Lady of Montserrat, in the tiny new chapel dedicated to the Black Madonna outside Barcelona before whose shrine Ignatius kept an all night vigil and abandoned his weapons of war at the start of his conversion from rapacious soldier to gifted spiritual director and priest. Delightfully, this is symbolized by a real sword on the floor before her in this chapel, which I held and danced with embracing the call to be a nonviolent warrior for justice during a recent prayerful visit.

I love the resonance with the original beloved hymn to Christ our just and loving King. And the claiming of God as our just and loving Queen, reflecting the most exciting development in contemporary women's spirituality: adding the queen image for women's wise and compassionate leadership, especially in midlife, to the traditional maiden, mother, and crone. And, especially, honoring Her power and beauty and sacred presence in and with and through her beautiful and powerful and sacred Black children now speaking and acting Her prophetic words calling our white supremacist church and society--including me--to real conversion.

The hymn is dedicated with great respect and appreciation to one of Her most powerful images in my life--and many others-- Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney. I met her when she was the main speaker and I the liturgical musician at a retreat/conference for a clergy and laywomen's blogging ring. We have stayed in touch due to our shared passion for scholarship and ministry recovering the divine feminine images in Scripture and tradition as well as countering religious justification for abuse, violence, and all the sinful isms that desecrate that image in Her beloved people. And I have been profoundly challenged to continue seeking transformation on my participation in white supremacy and racism by her prophetic presence--paired with queenly personal graciousness--on Facebook and Twitter. If you are white and not yet following her there and at her blog, please rectify that right away!

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