Originally posted Sept. 2, 2012, at A Constant Stream of Grace. Republished with permission of the author.
The Songs of Songs, by almost all accounts, is a strange piece of literature to include in the Bible. There is no mention of God by name anywhere. And this text, a bit of poetry sung from a bride to her bridegroom, was rather racy for its time. It was so much so that the “Interpreter’s Bible” reports that Jewish doctors used to recommend that their young patients not read it until age 30.
So why include it? Scholars say it was undisputedly included in the Hebrew canon and wholeheartedly adapted for Christian use because it works on the level of allegory, meaning everything stands for something else. The bridegroom, flawless and sickeningly perfect, represents God (Jesus for Christians) and the bride, the body of faithful believers.
The Song of Songs helps a people imagine how God comes, redeeming everything that has gone wrong in the “winter” of life. No matter how bad it gets or how much it has rained, there’s nothing like the dawn of a new spring morning to revive hope.
And I believe there’s more.
Unlike our own experiences of human love, that impregnable perfection we see in our new love interest never fades. And it’s not our image of God that remains untarnished as the years pass, but God’s image of us.
No matter how old we get, how many mistakes we make, nor how big they are; no matter how much we are disappointed in ourselves or our abilities, God always stands at the ready, speaking to us the way a young groom speaks to his bride. We are more lovely and ever the object of God’s affection. God desires to stay with us, not only on the night we first meet, but all of our nights and all of our days as well.
God desires to partner with us and create a new kind of love, one that recreates the world in a way that could never be created if one of the parties were missing. We could never be more lovely to God than in the moments we say “Yes!” again and again to this God who loves above all others.
Find a link to Laura Holck’s blog A Constant Stream of Grace at Lutheran Blogs.