Monday, May 06, 2019

Womanist hymnody

Rev. Larry E. Schultz conducts the Chancel Choir of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, in singing "Womb of All Creation Flowing" to a familiar hymn tune, with pictures from various artists.

This hymn draws from the biblical image of the Divine as a Womb, giving birth to all creation. In the Hebrew Scriptures the word "rahum" is literally translated "womb-love," and is used to convey divine compassion, graciousness, and mercy. "Rahum" ("womb-love") pictures a Creator who continually loves and nurtures us. This Creator, also called "Shaddai" in Hebrew, gives us Her "blessings of the breasts and of the womb" (Genesis 49:25). This hymn symbolizes Darkness as a sacred power, giving birth to all creation and giving birth to our creative gifts. "Womb of All Creation Flowing" celebrates the "treasures of darkness" (Isaiah 45:3). Thus this hymn contributes to racial justice by changing the traditional symbolism of darkness as evil or ominous to darkness as creative power and beauty, affirming the sacred value of people of color through these positive images. Reclaiming this dark female Creator inspires women of all races to embrace our creative power, inspires men of all races to embrace aspects of their creativity that have been traditionally labeled and disparaged as "feminine," and reinforces the biblical truth that we are all created in the divine image. The Divine is embodied in everyone—all genders, races, cultures, and religions. 

This video comes with the prayer that it will inspire us to join the holy labor, to co-create a world of beauty, justice, and peace.

"Womb of all Creation flowing with your blessings everywhere,
bring to birth in us deep caring that your fullness all may share.
Fill us with your gentle power that new ventures we may dare.

Holy Darkness deep within us, nurture our creative seeds;
bring our dreams to glorious flower as your peace our spirits feed.
In your center we find wholeness as your grace fills all our needs.

Loving Womb, your sacred darkness brings forth treasures night and day,
nourishing our deepest longings, casting all our fears away.
May we join your holy labor, giving Earth new hope, we pray."

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton 
from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006).


  1. I'm amused by the Mickey Mouse etymology that props up the theology

  2. I guess the "Womb of All Creation Flowing" sounds beautiful as an airy fairy notion, but like the birth of a child the reality is far different from its notion. As any parent would know, a normal delivery involves blood, pee, poop, and other less than agreeable elements! Then again, "poop" seems like a much better metaphor for their theology.

  3. This strikes me as just plain silly. Sometimes it's incredibly hard to believe that people can't see the vapidity in expressions such as these.

  4. Oh great, more ammunition passages for the Ahn Sahng-hong (Mother God) church to use!