Bad Dream, Renewed Love
Most Holy God, lead me today from Your Word to joyfully follow Jesus and obey Your will for me.
Read Song of Songs 5:2-6:3
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Eph. 5:33). Radical, wise words, indeed.
Today’s reading echoes some of the feelings of chapter 3, but it is more disturbing (5:6, for example). She cannot cling onto her beloved; he seems to have turned and gone. She runs after him and is beaten up and robbed. The story continues in the friends’ questions: what is so special about this one? And so she tells them, and this time it’s the male blazon, with an interesting mixture of the strong man (e.g. 5:15) and something altogether softer (e.g. 5:13). The images of masculinity here are altogether more complex than the prophet/priest/warrior types elsewhere in the Old Testament. The culture of the reigns of David and Solomon is perhaps closest to some of the feelings in the Song, exciting and yet openly susceptible to sin: both men were clearly chosen by God, and were both immensely gifted, yet dangerously flawed. We have here an inspired account of how people feel when they are in love, not necessarily how they ought to behave.
Commentators like the sixteenth-century mystic John of the Cross discuss the sickness or faintness of 5:8 as a malady that can only be cured by union with the beloved, that is God: “the malady of love is incurable, except in thy presence and before thy face.” … Another explanation of these words is this: “he who feels this malady of love–that is, a failure of it–has an evidence in himself that he has some love, because he ascertains what is deficient in him by that which he possesses” (John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle). Our love for God, and our sense of his love for us, may be incomplete, and we can lament that incompleteness–but even that is evidence that we want and need more.
The passionate love here is a picture of Christ’s love for the church. If married, apply it to your marriage and relationship with Christ. If single, apply it to the latter.
Lord, help me make my love for You deeper and more in tune with You. And deepen my relationships with others.
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