I hear the voice of the one I love,
as he comes leaping over mountains and hills like a deer or a gazelle.
Now he stands outside our wall,
looking through the window and speaking to me.
My darling, I love you! Let’s go away together.
Winter is past, the rain has stopped;
flowers cover the earth, it’s time to sing.
The cooing of doves is heard in our land.
Fig trees are bearing fruit,
while blossoms on grapevines fill the air with perfume.
My darling, I love you!
Let’s go away together. Song of Songs 2:8-13 (CEV)
This is one of the options for the “poetry” selection in this week’s lectionary texts. It is probably the selection least likely to be chosen. Many pastors and teachers are not sure what to do with Song of Songs. It is a passionate piece of poetry and many are uncomfortable using passionate and God in the same sentence, much less speak about it in front of a mixed congregation. How can my Creator instill within me passionate love and say I am made in His image and likeness and not have passionate love for me? How could Jesus endure if He wasn’t passionately in love with those He died for?
Isaiah speaks about God’s love (Chapters 61 and 62) as the Bridegroom to us, His Bride. The metaphor brings to mind how we felt on our wedding day when love was pure and, we thought, without equal. But it also brings to mind the purity and simplicity of the love we felt when we stopped running away and instead we turned and ran into the arms of our Savior! It was in that Love where I found healing of heart and spirit. It was in bringing our love, as husband and wife, and entering into a covenant with God’s love, that Henry and I found a marriage that will withstand time and the erosion of this world, and instead become stronger in the Refiner’s fire (Malachi 3).
Take time today and read these three passages of poetry and listen to the song about God’s Holy Love. Consider how God has shown His love for you in the simple every day ways as well as the extraordinary miracles. And then speak to your Beloved, the LORD who loves you. When people speak to you carelessly, or in the darkest moments when no one seems to care, Jesus is there. Jesus is enough.
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth,
his offer would be utterly scorned. Song of Songs 8:6-7 (NLT)
Holy Love written & sung by Andy Park