1877.) Song of Solomon 6

July 12, 2016

Song of Solomon 6   (NIV)

   Friends

1 Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?

She

2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.

My True Love Hath My Heart
by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

My true-love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given;
I hold his dear and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his.

He4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Beautiful art thou, my fair one, majestic as bannered hosts.
— Song of Solomon 6:4

Just now a tree on the very top of the hill is all tipped with the crimson of young leaves. Through the field glasses it is like an army with banners, and every single little crimson banner is held out and waves in the wind.

Beautiful art thou, my fair one, majestic as bannered hosts. That is what our Lord calls us, thinking of us as so much better than we really are, for that is His loving custom. If we truly love Him it is impossible to hear such words without wanting to rise to them.

Are we like an army with banners? Or are we slouching along anyhow? It would spoil a bannered host if a single banner-bearer trailed his banner in the dust, and marched out of step, and slacked. Don’t let any one of us think, “It doesn’t matter about me.”  It does matter about you. Stand beautiful!

5 Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Gilead.
6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
not one of them is missing.
7 Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
8 Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;
9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
the only daughter of her mother,
the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
the queens and concubines praised her.

Friends

10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?

LOVE IS . . . power.

The imagery in Song of Songs is startling.  It is never weak and wimpy, sweet and swoony.  The imagery is so strong and active that it is military.  What woman has even been flattered by her beloved’s comparing her to an army and a fortress?  There is no chauvinistic passivity here.  The bride is not a shrinking violet, nor does the groom want her to be.  She is as active as he is but in a totally feminine way.  She is the dawn, and the dawn “comes up like thunder” here.  When God our groom comes to us with his love, we are not flattened but straightened, not turned off but turned on, not made passive but made active. 

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

He

11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.

Friends

13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!

He

Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
as on the dance of Mahanaim?

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “If Ever I Would Leave You”  —  from Camelot, sung by Robert Goulet.  I had the privilege years ago of seeing Goulet as King Arthur in a Camelot production at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.  It remains an enchanted memory.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
I am my beloved’s . . .    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/200f8-i2bam2bmy2bbeloved2527s.png
two hearts.   http://www.clker.com/cliparts/4/d/5/d/12065573741668753765egore911_2_hearts.svg.hi.png
red tree.    http://staytondailyphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/dennyb_redtree.jpg

1876.) Song of Solomon 5

July 11, 2016

“Song of Solomon” by Darlene Slavujak, 1994.

Song of Solomon 5   (NIV)

   He

1 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.

Friends

Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.

She

2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”

Wild Nights

    Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
    Were I with thee
    Wild Nights should be
    Our luxury!

    Futile – the Winds –
    To a Heart in port –
    Done with the Compass –
    Done with the Chart!

    Rowing in Eden –
    Ah, the Sea!
    Might I but moor – Tonight –
    In Thee!

    –Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.

LOVE IS . . . ready.

When the angel appeared to Mary, she was ready with her response:  Yes, let it be, “Be it done to me according to your word.” That is why Mary is considered by some to be a perfect saint:  a perfect saint has perfect love, and perfect love is perfectly ready with its simple Yes.

But the bride in the Song of Solomon, like our own soul, is not perfectly ready. She makes excuses, and because of this fear, withdrawal, or double-mindedness, the longed-for consummation of their love is postponed, and she suffers immeasurably, as the verses above show.

We are always doing that with God. The divinely whispered invitation to turn immediately to him, to follow the first breath of his Spirit, is seldom heeded. When we have more time, when we are in a better mood, when these Martha-like many things are taken care of, then we can attend to the Mary thing, the “one thing needful.” But tomorrow never comes, and if we do not turn today we simply do not turn, for today is the only time there is. “Now is the time of salvation.” Be ready for all the joy of Now.

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

_________________________

Friends

9 How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?

She

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.

LOVE IS . . . individual.

The object of love is a person, and every person is an individual.  No person is a class, a species, or a collection.  There is no such thing as the love of humanity because there is no such thing as humanity.  If your preachers or teachers have told you that the Bible teaches you to love humanity, they have told you a lie.  Not once does the Bible say that; not once does it even mention the word humanity.  Jesus always commands us to love God and our neighbor instead.

How comfortable “humanity” is!  “Humanity” never shows up at your door at the most inconvenient time.  “Humanity” is not quarrelsome, alcoholic, or fanatical.  “Humanity” is never slimy, swarmy, smarmy, smelly, or smutty.  “Humanity” is so ideal that one could easily die for it.  But to die for your neighbor, to die for Sam Slug or Mehitabel Crotchit — unthinkable.  Except for love.

One of the saints said that if you had been the only person God ever created, he would have gone to all the trouble he went to just to save you alone.  When he died on the cross, he did not die for humanity; he died for you.  “Behold, I have called you by name,” he says.  “I have engraved your name upon my palm.”  When he welcomes you into your heavenly mansion, he will not address you as “comrade.”  Lovers love to whisper each other’s names because the name stands for the person, the individual.

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.

“There is nothing that can surprise our Lord in our unworthiness; He knows us through and through. But it must surprise Him sometimes that we ever stay even for one minute in the dark and cold, when we have such a Beloved and such a Friend that we have only to think of Him (instead of ourselves) to find ourselves with Him, embraced by His warm love on every side.”

–Amy Carmichael

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “All I Ask of You”  from Phantom of the Opera, sung by Michael Ball and Sierra BoggessSo beautiful.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Slavujak.   http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20OT%20A/images/09_the_song_of_solomon.jpg
“The Ocean by the Night” by angelcheto.   http://s71.photobucket.com/user/angelcheto/media/Dark/512.jpg.html

1875.) Song of Solomon 4

July 8, 2016
Aishwarya Rai, a star of Indian Bollywood films, is considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the world today.

Aishwarya Rai, a star of Indian Bollywood films, is considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the world today.

Song of Solomon 4   (NIV)

   He

1 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.

SoS4 kiss

Jenny Kissed Me
by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.

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;
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.

LOVE IS . . . natural.

Love is supernatural, but love is also natural — like Christ, who is both fully God and fully man. Love “moves the sun and all the stars,” as Dante and the ancients knew. Love is the theme of nature’s song.

That is why the poet of this song, like all traditional love poets, finds and uses analogies throughout nature for human love. But modern sensibilities are more materialistic than those of the ancients, and so we need to be reeducated into at least one crucial feature of traditional imagery. These images are often based not on an empirical, visible likeness but on an emotional one. Consider the passage we have just read, for instance.  Not one of the seven natural images is one of visible resemblance, except very remotely. If the reader thinks the writer is attempting that, the spell of the poetry not only will not work but also will work a counterspell of scorn and laughter. But if the reader understands the emotional equivalence, he will be able to enter into the poet’s secret world of fittingness.

Everything in nature can symbolize love because everything in nature was designed and created to manifest the God of love. “The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Every blade of grass is a blade of grace, a grace note in God’s Song.

–from Three Philosophies of Life,  by Peter Kreeft

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.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “You are so beautiful (to me)”  by Joe Cocker.

_________________________

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.

“When a spice is used raw, as is, you get one flavor,” says Raghavan Iyer, eminent Indian food writer and chef, who speaks with the precision and clarity of a veteran instructor. “When it’s ground, you get a second flavor. When it’s toasted, you get a third flavor. When it’s ground after it has been dry toasted, you get a fourth flavor.”

He pauses for a moment, and then presents the remaining options.

“When it’s sauteed in some kind of a fat, you get flavor number five,” he says. “If it’s ground after it’s sauteed, you get flavor number six. If it’s soaked in some liquid while it’s in the seed form, you get flavor number seven. If it’s ground after it has been soaked in liquid, you get flavor number eight.

“These are not subtleties, these are very distinct flavors,” he adds, emphatically. “All of a sudden… you take that and multiply it by the hundreds of different spices out there, and you’ve peeked into the world of Indian cooking. It’s that sophistication of flavors that come through from using the same ingredient in different ways.”

One spice — yet many delicious flavors. One spouse — yet many shining facets. One marriage — yet many glorious qualities.

15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.

She

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.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

There are two pots of lilies in my room. In one the flowers are large and perfect; in the other the bloom has missed something. It does not reach perfection.

A glance discovers the reason. Its leaves are dusty.

Awake O north wind — sharp, cold, unwelcome — and come, thou south — welcome by all — blow upon my garden. Round about us day by day these winds blow. They breathe the very breath of life upon us, for they come at the call of Him who is our Breath of Life.

Are we receiving all that they carry to us? Are we missing the blessed good of either the sharpness or sweetness, the desired or the undesired? Are those secret doors of the spirit, hidden from all eyes like the stomata on the underside of the leaf, wide open, clean, free from the dust of earth?

O Breath of Life whose winds blow about me now, let me be all open to Thee today.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Rai.   http://cdn2.stylecraze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Aishwarya-Rai-Beauty-Secrets.jpg
Jenny kissed me.    http://img3.goodfon.su/wallpaper/big/2/52/children-boy-girl-kiss-dress.jpg
spices.   https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-raMWEoTUipg/TkIZOpaxeTI/AAAAAAAAcF0/YrufD_mAaU4/spices.jpg
lilies of the valley.  http://ddeventdesign.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/lily-of-the-valley1.jpg

1874. Song of Solomon 3

July 7, 2016

I will get up now and go about the city; I will search for the one my heart loves.

Song of Solomon 3   (NIV)

Dear readers — My apologies for unintentionally sending out two postings yesterday; my fault entirely. Here is a repeat from yesterday but it was meant for today!

Rebecca

She

1 All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
2 I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.

LOVE IS . . . work.

Love is not passive. Love is singing a duet, and that is work. Joyful work, but work nonetheless. Young lovers first fall in love passively, but if they are to stay in love they must actively work to keep it and grow it, like a seed that is first received into the ground but must then be tended and fertilized or it will die. So the bride sings, “I sought him . . . I will rise now and go about the city . . . I will seek him whom my soul loves.” Life is a quest for love and a quest for God.

Freud says that the two most basic needs everyone has are “love and work.” That is a wise saying. And these two are one, for if work is to be fulfilling, it must be a work of love, and if love is to live, it must be a work. As Kierkegaard points out, love in Christianity is not a feeling, as it is for Romanticism; rather, “love is the works of love.” That is why Christ can command love. Only a fool tries to command a feeling.

The strangest thing about our work of love is that it is both work and rest, both weekday and sabbath. Jesus made this clear when the Pharisees got angry at him for his work of healing on the sabbath. His answer told them, in effect, that you could no more stop this work than you could stop the sun from shining, for it is the very life of the Father, which eternally reaches out from the sabbath of eternity into the work week of time, as he did at the Creation. Jesus’ answer to them was:  “My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5:17). What has this to do with us human lovers?  ike Father, like Son; like Christ, like Christian. Our work of love participates in the dual nature of Christ:  divine and human, eternal and temporal, sabbath rest and weekday work, Easter Sunday and Good Friday.

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

So I looked for him but did not find him.
3 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
4 Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Beautiful Dreamer

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;

Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d a way!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life’s busy throng, —
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chanting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E’en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart, —
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

— by Stephen Foster

_________________________

Music:

Looking for love?  HERE  is one of my favorite love songs.  “Some Enchanted Evening,” from a concert from Carnegie Hall in 2005 — Reba McEntire & Brian Stokes Mitchell.  “Once you have found him, never let him go . . .”

_________________________

6 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
made from all the spices of the merchant?
7 Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
escorted by sixty warriors,
the noblest of Israel,
8 all of them wearing the sword,
all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
prepared for the terrors of the night.
9 King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
he made it of wood from Lebanon.
10 Its posts he made of silver,
its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.

LOVE IS . . . triumphalistic.

Love is, simply, superior. It belongs on a throne. It rightly brags, praises, exults, celebrates, sings its Song of Songs. It deserves silver and gold and robes and crown. Heaven will be full of it (if the symbolism of Revelation means anything at all); had we not better practice living with it?

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
woman alone.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/alone460.jpg
dreamer of the sea.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/7b/c2/3e/7bc23edd24711decf33198f024ad5dfd.jpg

1873.) Song of Solomon 2

July 6, 2016

“Song of Solomon” by contemporary Chinese artist He Qi

Song of Solomon 2   (NIV)

   She

1 I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.

He

2 Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.

She

3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.

Exodus 17:15 (New Living Translation)

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”).

5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.

SoS2 fruit

I am lovesick: The maiden described a feeling familiar to many who have known the thrill of romantic love. She feels physically weak and perhaps even somewhat disoriented because of the strength of attraction and infatuation she has towards her beloved.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Schloss, there is a brain hormone that mediates the feeling of being in love or being infatuated. One of these neurotransmitters is known as phenethylamine, and it floods our brain when we fall in love (it is also in fairly high quantities in chocolate). This chemical gives us feelings of exhilaration and thrill and well-being, and in high amounts can lead to a loss of appetite. This chemical works somewhat in a cycle, at least in a relationship. At the beginning of the relationship it spikes up; after four or five years it begins to decline. Across cultures there is spike in the rate of divorce at about 4.5 years of marriage.

This leads some scientists to say that we are made for monogamy, but only in the sense of one partner at a time, and then changing partners every five years or so. Yet Dr. Schloss says that we know this is not true. In the brain there are completely different pathways, with completely different chemical mediators. These begin to form at about the four-year point in a relationship, and they contribute to different feelings. Instead of feelings of thrill and “I can’t eat,” they are feelings of deep contentment and gratitude. One of the chemicals that mediates these feeling is oxytocin, which is the same chemical related to the bonding of a mother together with her infant.

Some suggest that relationships have two major phases: attraction and attachment. The attraction phase is powerful, and the kind of condition that makes one say, “I am lovesick.” Yet the key to a long-term fulfilling relationship is staying with it past the attraction phase into the attachment phase. There are some counselors who devote almost their entire counseling practice trying to help what they call “love junkies”; people who are so addicted to the phenethylamine phase that they bounce from relationship rush to relationship rush without ever really coming into a greater, longer lasting relationship fulfillment.

One could say that we are engineered for the longer lasting attachment phase, and the attraction phase is meant to be a portal into the attachment phase, and not something unto itself. The good news is that as a relationship moves into the attachment phase, the attraction phase recycles, and long-married couples often experience the sense of falling in love all over again – several times through their marriage.

–David Guzik

6 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.
7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

8 Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.

LOVE IS. . . a surprise.

Love is not calculated, controlled, predicted, or expected. Love is a “good catastrophe” (to use Tolkien’s words). It is the mark of God’s presence, and so it takes us by surprise, as he does. The God of the philosophers is simply “Being,” but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob creeps up behind us and says, “Boo!”

And the bride is surprised by his voice:  “Listen!  The voice of my beloved!”

Love elopes. God calls us, as he called Abraham, away from the security we knew, out of our old, familiar, little room, down the ladder of faith and into his arms. Jesus called his disciples that way — just as a lover elopes with his beloved. Whenever we think we have got him planned, he blows away our plans like the clouds of smoke they are, and stands in front of us in place of our dreams, our cloudy expectations, and forces us to choose between him and ourselves, between the God of surprises and the idol of same old self, between God the gazelle and self the slug. It is ultimately the choice between Heaven and Hell.

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.

13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

LOVE IS . . . Gospel.

Love is news, good news, Gospel.  Love is promise of future bliss, hopeful of future reward, forward looking to future ratification.  Love speaks wonderful and mysterious promises.  Will the human bride believe them?  Will she have faith in her divine bridegroom?  Will she chooses life?

The response must be a “coming away” from the past, from death and darkness and the womb and sleep.  The imagery is of morning and springtime.  Love is alive.  Love is not an abstract ideal; love is a wedding invitation.  Love is not something for us to approach; it is something that approaches us. 

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”

He

14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.

She walks in beauty, like the night
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
   How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
   A heart whose love is innocent!

15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.

She

16 My beloved is mine and I am his;

SoS2 beloved is minehe browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the rugged hills.

_________________________

Music:

All this talk of gazelles leaping and stags bounding reminds me of a song that David sometimes sings to me.  HERE  is Frank Sinatra and “I Get a Kick out of You.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
He Qi.   http://www.heqiart.com/store/p124/21_The-Song-of-Solomon_Artist_Proof_.html
banner.   http://d5tjh8coh0tpm.cloudfront.net/files/banner21.jpg?7489a8
bowl of fruit.    http://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/4405/109064684.164/0_91da4_e6651fa1_XL.jpg
She Walks in Beauty.  http://readytogoebooks.com/LB-SWB42.jpg
My beloved is mine.   http://www.bibleverseofthedaypictures.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Song-of-Solomon-2-16_Bible-Verse_speckled-wood-butterfly_red-admiral-butterfly_daisies_corn_cornflower_wild-flowers_watercolor_nature-painting_artwork.jpg

1872.) Song of Solomon 1

July 5, 2016

Song of Solomon 1  (NIV)

The best way to see this book is as a literal, powerful description of the romantic and sensual love between a man and a woman, observing both their courtship and their marriage. It does not give us a smooth chronological story, beginning with the introduction of the couple to one another and ending with their married life together. Instead, it is a collection of “snapshots” of their courting and married life, with the pictures not necessarily in order.

Yet, because God deliberately uses the marriage relationship as an illustration of the relationship that He has with His people, we find that this great song of songs illustrates the love, the intensity, and the beauty of relationship that should exist between God and the believer. This is clearly a secondary meaning, sublimated to the plain literal meaning, yet nevertheless valid and important.

“There are those who treat this Book as a song of human love. There are those who consider its only value is that of its mystical suggestiveness. Personally, I believe that both values are here.” (Morgan)

–David Guzik

1 Solomon’s Song of Songs.

LOVE IS . . . a song.

Attempting to translate music’s meaning into words always fails, yet we can say:

  • Love is  not only subjective feeling but also objective truth;
  • Love is both mysterious and meaningful; and
  • Love is never reducible to mere words.

God has been singing a love song to us for a very long time — at Creation, he told Job, the morning stars sang together!

And who ever speaks of “love speeches”?  It is always “love songs”!

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

She

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

SOS1 Luther

“The Bible does not see marriage as an inferior state, a concession to human weakness. Nor does it see the normal physical love within that relationship as necessarily impure. Marriage was instituted before the Fall by God with the command that the first couple become one flesh. Therefore physical love within that conjugal union is good, is God’s will, and should be a delight to both partners (see Proverbs 5:15-19 and 1 Corinthians 7:3).”

–Dennis F. Kinlaw

Friends

We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.

She

How right they are to adore you!

Priest:   The Lord be with you.
People:   And also with you.

Priest:   Lift up your hearts.
People:   We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest:   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People:   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

5 Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.
7 Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends

8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.

He

9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.

She

12 While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

LOVE IS . . . dialogue.

The poem is in dialogue form, bride and groom singing to each other antiphonally, because love is essentially dialogue, and the form of a perfect poem manifests the content; the medium manifests the message.

There are only three ultimate messages, three possible philosophies of life. According to atheism, there is only the human monologue with no God to dialogue with. According to pantheism, there is only divine monologue with no created world of free souls for god to dialogue with. All in One. Only according to theism is there dialogue between Creator and creature. Only in theism does mankind confront an Other, the eternal life of the Trinity. 

Thus the dialogue between lovers manifests a whole philosophy of life. The simplest conversation manifests the highest mystery.

–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft

He

15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

She

16 How handsome you are, my beloved!

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Behold, thou art fair, my Beloved.”
Song of Solomon 1:16

From every point our Well-beloved is most fair. Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly Father to furnish fresh standpoints from which we may view the loveliness of Jesus; how amiable are our trials when they carry us aloft where we may gain clearer views of Jesus than ordinary life could afford us! We have seen him from the top of Hermon, and he has shone upon us as the sun in his strength; but we have seen him also “from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards,” and he has lost none of his loveliness. From the languishing of a sick bed, from the borders of the grave, have we turned our eyes to our soul’s spouse, and he has never been otherwise than “all fair.” Many of his saints have looked upon him from the gloom of dungeons, and from the red flames of the stake, yet have they never uttered an ill word of him, but have died extolling his surpassing charms. Oh, noble and pleasant employment to be forever gazing at our sweet Lord Jesus!

Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Saviour in all his offices, and to perceive him matchless in each?–to shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of peerless graces? In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on his throne, in the garden and in his kingdom, among thieves or in the midst of cherubim, he is everywhere “altogether lovely.” Examine carefully every little act of his life, and every trait of his character, and he is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh him as you please, and he will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather, as ages revolve, his hidden glories shall shine forth with yet more inconceivable splendour, and his unutterable loveliness shall more and more ravish all celestial minds.

Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

He

17 The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.

_________________________

Music:

For chapter 1 of Solomon’s Song:  HERE  is “Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song,” written by Paul Williams and performed by Three Dog Night, released in 1971, the year I graduated from high school. I remember it well!

And the pictures in this video are of (old) television and movie couples — how many can you place? List follows —

1. Julie Andrews & James Garner in Victor Victoria
2. Judi Dench & Michael Gambon in Cranford
3. Katharine Hepburn & Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond
4. Helen Mirren & John Voight in National Treasure II
5. William Shatner & Catherine Hicks in Star Trek IV
6. Jane Fonda & Robert Redford in The Electric Horseman
7. Tom Hanks & Kathleen Quinlan in Apollo 13
8. Judi Dench & Billy Connolly in Her Majesty Mrs. Brown
9. Shirley MacLaine & Peter Sellers in Being There
10. June Carter & Johnny Cash in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
11. Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County
12. Helen Mirren & Robert Redford in The Clearing
13. Glenn Close & Christopher Walken in Sarah Plain and Tall
14. Johnathan Frakes & Mirina Sirtis in Star Trexk TNG
15. Tyne Daly & John Karlen in Cagney & Lacey
16. Meryl Streep & Robert Redford in Out of Africa
17. Ellen Pompeo & Patrick Dempsey in Grey’s Anatomy
18. Bea Arthur & Leslie Nielson in The Golden Girls
19. Barbara Babcock & Orson Bean in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
20. Mary McDonnell & Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves
21. Dixie Carter & Hal Holbrook in Designing Women
22. Shirley MaClaine & Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment
23. Kristin Scott Thomas & Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer
24. Judi Dench & Michael Williams in A Fine Romance
25. Helen Mirren & Jeremy Irons in Elizabeth I
26. Mel Gibson & ? in Braveheart
27. Diane Keaton & Jack Nicholson in Something’s Gotta Give
28. Mary McDonnell & Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica
29. Tyne Daly & Richard Crenna in Judging Amy
30. Julie Andrews & James Garner in One Special Night

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Love like Jesus.    http://www.birkdalebaptistchurch.org/files/love_like_jesus_small.jpg
Love is . . .   http://rlv.zcache.com/love_is_elegant_heart_card-p137135612020705705z85p0_400.jpg
Luther quote.   http://www.quotes4smile.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/let-the-wife-make-the-husband-glad.jpg
bread and wine.    http://www.peelandstickpatterns.com/PatternPics/Religious/images/Bread-And-Wine_gif.jpg
Baby in the manger.   http://keikihendrix.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/manger-baby.jpg

1871.) Psalm 33

July 4, 2016
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.

Psalm 33   (ESV)

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Ps33 sing

“‘New song’ simply means that every praise song should emerge from a fresh awareness of God’s grace.”

–James Montgomery Boice

For the word of the Lord is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Ps33 breath

The power of the voice of the Lord!

He says to Jairus’ daughter, lying dead on her little bed, “Get up!” — and all the rules of the natural universe bend to obey him!

He says to the leper, “Be healed!” — and the leprosy disappears!

On the cross he said, “It is finished!” — and there is nothing more to be done in all the earth to accomplish salvation!

He says to you and to me, “Your sins are forgiven!” — and they are gone, washed away!

And Luther reminds us in his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” that Satan will be banished forever by the Word of the Lord — “One little word shall fell him!”

He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

Ps33 filled with awe

For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Ps33 flag

On this July 4th, as we in the United States look ahead to a presidential election, we pray for the Lord to lead our nation in God’s good ways and to help us align ourselves with God’s eternal purposes.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.

Ps33 shield

There is nothing to fear. His love commands all our circumstances and delivers us from all distress.

21 For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

_________________________

Music:

For July 4th and every day —  HERE  is Larnelle Harris and “Let Freedom Ring!”

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