Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” – Song of Solomon 2:8-13
This passage marks my entry into the tumultuous and potentially turbulent water that is the Song of Solomon or Songs of Songs. As I understand it this book was part of the original “wisdom” literature and it is read as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel by many moderns Jewish people. Christianity has viewed the book as an allegory of the relationship between the Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride). As I explore this book I will try to prayerfully explore these allegorical meanings as well as the more obvious descriptions of male/female relationships — potentially choppy and turbulent water to be sure.
Why has springtime always been associated with love? It seems that in the springtime everyone’s thoughts turn to love. Perhaps it is the new life that is bursting forth all around us in the form of flowers and young animals. There is a sense that spring is the “right” time for love and having young. This passage read like the first flowers of spring…”The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”
Winter in Michigan where I am from can be very cold and hard. The first spring warmth is truly a welcome arrival after months of snow and ice. In this passage the woman is in her house and her lover arrives and peers into her house and announces the end of winter…he has arrived. The necessary rains have come and gone and now the “the season of singing has come”. This reminds me of some of the rejoicing that the Israelites did after experiencing hard or challenging times. For example, when Moses sang songs to the Lord after the parting of the Red Sea.
Taking this as an allegory for our relationship with God is challenging. It seems somehow wrong to associate God with the physical love and desire. I am not sure why this is. God certainly knows way more about physical love and how that love interacts with your souls than I do. Perhaps it is the way our culture has used or misused sexual love that makes it difficult. God made us as sexual beings — our souls inhabiting physical bodies full of hormones and desires. Perhaps this book will provide some insights into the dynamic nature of our souls and how they interact with the strong desires and chemistry of our physical bodies here on earth.
I think that we sometime want to avoid the emotional side of our relationship with God because it is confusing and messy. My hope and prayer is that in floating through the Song of Solomon I will gain a better understanding of the dynamic and emotional side of our relationship with God.
Prayer: God grant me wisdom and insights into the dynamic nature of love between a man and woman. Help me to understand ways our relationship with You is to be like this.
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