Lullabies are for babies. Sesame Street tunes are for little kids. One Direction is for confused older children. And then there’s Song of Songs, written exclusively for adults. Lyrics of love, romance, and even a bit of eroticism. If God’s Word is the most powerful prose/poetry in existence, Song of Songs is like a box of TNT: not to be handled lightly. Some scholars treat it as commentary about Christ and His Church, a.k.a. the Bride of Christ. I see it, but it’s not easy to fully understand. Perhaps it should be taken as both symbolism and face value, especially for a husband/wife. The language in Song of Songs is quite…uh… flowery. Consult your own copy for examples. My blog is blushing.
Anyway, Song of Songs 2:8-13 is the Old Testament reading for this week’s lectionary. It’s not as spicy as some sections, but the imagery is still quite powerful and applicable to marriage/children. Behold:
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.
These are the words of She about He. My wife compares me to a gazelle and/or a young stag, but only when she sees me leaping across mountains. I haven’t bound over a hill since about 2009 or so.
And then He speaks in response about She:
My dove in the clefts of the rock, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.
Now that’s even better than Hallmark! One might ask “what are the rocks in which my dove dwells?” An example from this morning: Emily slept in. The clefts of the rocks were the many blankets and pillows. When I said “Emmy, wakey time…” I was essentially paraphrasing a verse in Song of Songs.
But then there’s this one, where He (dad?) says to She (mom?):
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, for our vineyards are in bloom.
This is clearly in reference to our children who “ruin vineyards” by “putting everything where it doesn’t belong.” Needless to say, we live in a house full of mischievous but wonderful little foxes, my dove and I.
I do love the scripture. It’s so complex and often unexpected. Of course, the purpose is not to just know Scripture but to know the Living Word: Jesus. I firmly believe that Jesus uses stuff like Song of Songs to shape my mind as a husband. Song of Songs may seem a bit out of place in a worship context, but, when we consider that the point of worship is to lift our hearts to the Lord and to be shaped by confession, that should naturally spread into the most important earthly relationship we can have: marriage.
Those little foxes need to see this modeled, even if it only distracts them for a second.
As for me… I’m going to find a hill to bound over.