Black Girl Magic And The Coming Shalom
By: Michelle Higgins
Reading: Proverbs 1:20-33
“Life without knowledge is death in disguise.” Talib Kweli
Living on the margins produces a particular wisdom. There is a reason that when God broke into the world His stage was a stable. Jesus lived His life as a poor person before stating, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” We have experienced the fires of violence, but our oppressors did not know that the evil flames of hatred were used as the cleansing fire of God. What pains were endured to make Black girls “magic,”God redeems by His Spirit as the suffering that taught us wisdom. This brings us an unfathomable peace even as we await His ultimate justice.
Our stories give voice to a symphony truth, which is a song the world does not want to hear. When Jesus said, “Woe to the rich,” it confounded the leaders of His day. We are labeled as divisive when we protest laws that label poor people as criminals. But it is a Godly imperative to express a wisdom which is only forged through pain. In obedience, we share this knowledge as a public witness to the world. Black History’s fat stack of receipts decrees rebellion against the fallacy of a Christian America. This wisdom is a sword which cuts through the myth of peace when there is no peace, and there never was. We have experienced the many hardships to obtain the Kingdom of God.
Much of the experience of marginalized women is a picture of what humans can endure in faithfulness to God. Black girls should not have to be “magic,” but Dr. King’s words are still true that “unearned suffering is redemptive.” What exactly is the fruit of such endured suffering? The question is our lament and refrain in this season of advent. Sisters, we know this well. But the King is coming, and His wisdom is our reward in the waiting.
It is a gift to us that wisdom in God’s word is personified as a woman.
For us, she brings dignity to our identity. For our fathers and brothers, she is an invitation to understand that God’s image is fully revealed through interdependence with their mothers and sisters.
Black women are real, weak, and weary. By God’s grace we share our stories not out of our arrogance but out of His wisdom. In her “Slave Song,” Sade sings, “Wisdom is the flame, wisdom is the brave warrior that carries us.” Wisdom wept over us across the Middle Passage. She hid herself from arrogant oppressors who presumed they were creating a new republic on what they called new land. She refused to answer those who ate “the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” She damned the destructive purposes of the simple-minded. She will not let them be at peace.
Is there fulfillment of our longing in the waiting for wisdom to be heard? Our King says yes. The plea of wisdom personified in the voice of a woman is fulfilled in the body of the God-man, Jesus. Those who hear the cries of wisdom and turn at her reproof will be free to rest. When He returns, He will take those on the margins and escort them to the center of His kingdom of perfect peace, a city of shalom, where the King rules and reigns forever.
Oh God, all the Black women in us are tried and tired. But we know that you are with us.
We often feel unseen, unappreciated, and unloved. Yet you have seen our work.
We feel the pains of misogyny and inequity—we work tirelessly for what seems like little reward; but You are the glory and reward that is to come.
Holy Spirit, we thank You for the precious gift of wisdom, our reward in the waiting.
Help us to hear and heed her cries.