“Okay guys what would you like us to study at home-group?” I asked…
“Song of Songs” asked one person.
Song of Songs is an awkward book if you’re a bit like me who gets a bit embarrassed easily (I still have nightmares about going to antenatal classes with Allana!).
Words like “BREASTS” feature fairly regularly in the book which can make the awkward vicar just a tad more awkward!
Yet the truth is the Song of Songs is in the Bible, and as such must be important to God and say something important to us?
If I ever ended up doing a PHD I think I would investigate who the Victorian era has left residual lenses on both English Christianity, but also with the empire has shipped out along with the gospel cultural bagged which it probably was never meant to have.
God is interested in all of life, and his word has to cover every aspect of life, the Bible is amazing as it understands human-beings in a way no other book ever written does.
The Song of Songs, shows there are no subjects that are “No Go for God”.
Song of Songs shows God understands humanity, and knows the power of love, and the power of sex.
The Victorian era was austere, passionless and where any expression of emotion was frowned upon when love was trivialized and things that should have been said often weren’t but the idea of a stiff upper lipped repressed and inhibited Brits are literally worlds apart from the liberated slave people celebrating in a time of prosperity in the era of King Solomon.
A preacher I heard in Derby was talking about hearing his little boy singing a worship song which he as singing as “Open the Ice of my Heart” (real words are “Open the Eyes of my Heart”). Sometimes some of us need God to thaw out our hearts, learn to own and express our emotions in a healthy and Godly way, rather than pretend they don’t exist and bury them alive.
Is there something in your life you need to be real about how you are feeling first to yourself and God and then maybe with other people?
The Bible understands how powerful love is as an emotion both when the couple are together and the cry when they are apart; and yet there is always the hint that this love story is really an parable of God’s fiery love for us, after all later images in the Bible term the Church as the Bride of Christ, there are echoes of the fall when the lover disappears (sounding like the pain-filled cry in Eden when God cried to Adam and Eve “where are you?”).
I think too often we envisage God as the stern headmaster or the cold Father rather than the passionate lover pursuing us, when we see God like this, it helps us when we approach the cross of Christ, to see a love so deep and real, that even though spurned it doesn’t quit, even when it comes to an agonizing and barbaric death.
Our human emotions and relationships enable us to see and grasp something of who God is, after-all we are made in his image.
Yet God also urges wisdom within them, the line repeated is about “don’t awaken love too soon” God who understands a broken heart from rejection of us his beloved, is urging us not to leap into relationships prematurely and unwisely (especially sexual relationships).
The problem with the world is although it is obsessed by sex, it doesn’t understand the power of sex (other than a marketing tool) as a Pastor I’ve seen how powerful sex can be causing emotional devastation.
Song of Song is not a book of ethics but it shows the powerful and precious nature of love and expressions of it, a God who understands how humans are wired up, a God who created and gives good gifts to his people.
So the Song of Songs shows us a God who understands humanity and humanities emotions even before he took on flesh as a human being and walked among us..
It is a book that challenge to be real about who we are and what we feel before God as being ‘whole people’ before him, giving him access to all our lives, every area, even the most personal or repressed. This book causes us to acknowledge the passionate love God has for you, especially if you have grown up in a cold and unemotional environment know that God ‘rejoices over you with singing’ (Zeph.3.17).