As mentioned in Monday’s blog, The Song of Songs is a Hebrew love poem, depicting a courtship and marriage between a young woman and a man. The Song also has a long tradition of being used as allegory of the love between Christ and the church.
In chapters 5 – 8, the couple appear to be chasing each other in the forest and meadow, like a hide-and-seek. Using richly evocative symbolism drawn from the created world, these songs portray the beauties of the physical body and the splendours of human love. The dialogue between the man and the woman is joyful and full of love, speaking to each other of their delight in each other.
Can we use this poetry book in the canon of the Bible to teach us something about romance and marriage that is blessed by God? I would answer “Perhaps” in the sense that this is a depiction of sexual love between one man and one woman, therefore a God-ordained marriage.
However, this book is not a teaching about marriage as such. That kind of teaching may be found in the account of creation in Genesis. A marriage relationship is also described by St. Paul in Ephesians 5. Moreover the chapter on love (I Cor.13) is a rich description of the love among members of the Christian church.
Some Christians still believe –or perhaps are just suspicious that the physical body is not as important as spiritual thoughts and feeling. The Song challenges that view, showing in vivid pictures and words that the physical body formed by God in the garden of Eden is beautiful, and that sexual expression of love between a man and a woman is a glory to God.
Our society accepts as normal a wide range of sexuality and gender definitions. From childhood to adult, individuals are encouraged and given permission to explore both hetero and same-sex attractions, and gender identity that may or may not be congruent with one’s biology.
I believe a question for all Christians and especially Christian parents and leaders is one of learning to know and understand what God desires in relationship, especially relationships between men and women.
Dear Lord God, teach us once more who we are as sexual beings created by you. Help us to set your guidelines for our children in all their social behaviours. For those who are struggling with body dysphoria and unhealthy sexual relationships, draw them back into your arms of love.
The Gift of Love
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.