Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Song of Songs: Chapter 2

1: I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
2: As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens.

The woman compares herself to a flower, and the man exalts her above all the other flowers in the field. It brings to mind:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin;
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
Matthew 6: 28-30

There is a double connection with the attribution of the Song to Solomon. The lovers see each other beyond comparisons although their human language must speak in them. They see each other as God sees them. Truly, to love is to see another through God’s eyes.

3: As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4: He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
5: Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am sick with love.

His cover over me is love. In Ruth chapter 3, Boaz covers Ruth with his mantle as a sign of betrothal. Love covers. It protects…it perfects. It redeems the Body in Christ.

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

The verse is another sign that these are not random lovers. There are people joined in the true nuptial mystery of Sacramental union. There is the kissing imagery directly before this verse as yet another sign of the simple seal of marriage and love.

6: O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me!

An embrace. We are safe in the arm of our love. We are safe in the arms of our God. These simple things, seen by some as erotic or out of place are the basic parts of our nature. This is the nature that God made for us. We all have the need to be embraced in love. It is the want and the misunderstanding of true love that leads so many people astray. We search in our lives for that perfect love. All the time it is there in God. In Christ. And it is reflected in the union of marriage.

7: I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the field, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.

True love verses false. Lust verses love. We grasp at the gifts God freely gives. And that grasping is a rejection of the love of God. We snatch to pull love from His hands when a perfect love is being given. And our grasp, our impatient pull can only gain an imperfect love. We rush towards sexuality and satisfaction when a true redemption of the body lies in the sacramental union of marriage and the sacrifice of Christ. But if but we wait for the gift. If we work with our Lord to master lust with love we receive perfection. Master desire with the faith that God will provide, we will receive perfection. This poem, so often called erotic and out of place, has at it’s heart the message of the mastery of desire.

8: The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
9: My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.

God created with a word. In midrashic thought this is one of the most basic and beautiful concepts. It is the Word of God that creates everything. John tells us that the Word is made flesh. The voice of the beloved is the word of God made flesh. It is Christ Himself.

10: My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
11: for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
12: The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13: The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

This is Redemption. Our winter is over and our exile past. All that is past is prologue as the bard says. The beloved calls out and says, “Pain is past. Suffering is past. I have been out here in it so I could announce to you when it was safe. Now is the redemption. Come and take my hand.”

14: O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely.

And we wish to see God. We wish to know Him. And He us. He already knows us, but He desires that we give ourselves freely to Him. And in this verse we rush to Him, calling our the beauty of our Lord and savior.

15: Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom."

But we must be wary. Even though redemption is here we can be lax and allow for this offer to be spoiled for us. We must be aware of sin. Again, this poem often called uninhibited sexuality is talking about perfected sexuality. It tells us to follow the voice and path of God’s desire for us.

16: My beloved is mine and I am his, he pastures his flock among the lilies.
17: Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle, or a young stag upon rugged mountains.

Shadows dissolve with daybreak. Redemption is the breaking of day. Christ is with us through the night. The Lord God carries us in safety. And He is with us always, until the end of time.

1 comment:

CMinor said...

Good point about the poem's being about mastering desire & following God's desire for us.