Lord, we await our wedding ceremony with You.
Read SONG OF SONGS 4:1 – 5:1
4 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.
2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.
3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
4 Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with courses of stone[a];
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
5 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
6 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.
7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
and the mountain haunts of leopards.
9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
15 You are[b] a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.
16 Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
5 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Drink your fill of love.’(Song 5:1). As you come into God’s presence, pause to breathe in His love for you and to breathe out your love for Him.
They say that every bride is beautiful on her wedding day. It is not the dress or the make-up that does it, despite all the money thrown that way. It is because she knows she is loved. Because she has been chosen above all the others. Because her prince has found something special in her that he wishes to cherish forever. That something sparkles out of every pore of her being, dazzling the guests and stunning the awe-struck groom.
So this is his wedding song, in the traditional Middle-Eastern genre of wasf, in praise of his alluring bride. His gentle lingering gaze over her allows him to drink in every part of her shining splendor. Tantalizingly, her face is veiled, so partial sight and memory paint a flawless image in his adoring imagination. On this wedding day, love is ripe and ready. Love is succulent and bursting to be picked and tasted and consumed. The long wait makes the bride’s shimmering invitation all the more thrilling. Her locked garden is thrown wide open with an urgent cry of desire. All is delight and freedom and ecstasy.
In an age when so many build their self-worth on the number of Facebook ‘likes’ or Instagram followers, these words point us to what we really need. When fragile souls are taunted by comparisons with touched-up celebrity images, this poem speaks volumes about true beauty. When sex is considered an easily accessed commodity to be exploited or purchased, this simple exquisite wedding song declares that nothing comes close to the exclusive bond of mutual self-giving love. Surely the Christian church has something to celebrate and commend to a society desperate for unconditional love and deep contentment.
When the church has often been caricatured for what it is against, how might we promote the compelling, life-affirming beauty of a Christ-centered monogamous marriage?
Lord, we Your people are profoundly grateful to You for allowing us to be Your bride, as well.