Simon’s Says ~ from Alan

If I told you there is a book in your Bible – not a long one, only eight chapters – that never mentions God, or any synonym for God, that uses some rather explicit language (some would call it erotic) and unfolds like a cat-and-mouse game between two lovers, with a running commentary in the background functioning like a Greek chorus, which some earlier pillars of the church thought should be expelled from the canonical scriptures, could you name it?

It has two names, actually:  some call it Song of Solomon, others call it Song of Songs.  Most scholars (both Hebrew and Christian) agree that it is a love poem, a dialogue between a soon-to-be-married bride and her groom, and indeed, many wedding services feature readings that are selected passages from the Song:

My beloved speaks, and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land… Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’

(As this is a family publication, I won’t quote from the more suggestive passages, but you won’t go wrong with an imaginative reading of the first several verses of chapter 5…)

While many agree about its status as a love poem, not all agree on its meaning.  The most common interpretation is that it is an allegory, a representation of the powerful and compelling love between God and humanity.  I’m not going to weigh in on any of its deeper meanings (this is, after all, a blog post and not a sermon), but thought that on this Valentine’s Day, a thoughtful poem about love straight from the scriptures might be just the tonic.  May the deep, deep love of God touch your heart in some way today.

[Finally, in a similar vein, I hope you took the opportunity to spread the (heart-shaped) blessings our children distributed among the congregation last week.  On Sunday I’m going to ask how you shared your blessing with others – I hope you’re willing to tell us your story!]

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