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This Sunday night, around 6:10 PM central time, I will ascend the steps of the big boxy pulpit and begin to read from the Song of Songs. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!…We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine…” There’s a few people in the congregation who are concerned—children will be in attendance you know! I try to remind them that I’m reading from the bible, which they acknowledge… kind of. I’m sure they secretly wonder how this piece of quasi pornographic poetry made it in the canon. I’m guessing some would like to pretend it isn’t there, not because they’re prudes, they just don’t want to blush in church, and they’re nervous about what I’ll say. I promised to give the PG version. The text speaks for itself, though. Which makes me wonder how many baptisms we’ll have 9 months after the sermon series ends? I should keep track…
My family is nervous. Of course my wife is afraid that I’ll start telling stories about our sex life over the pulpit. My older kids are a bit uneasy as well. Probably because they’ve seen my wife and I hug and kiss. I think it’s good for kids to see their parents get frisky—I’ll admit, I enjoy embarrassing them. The easiest way for me to clear the room is to start hugging and kissing … they scatter quickly, muttering under their breath. They’re usually smiling the whole time, which means deep down they’re glad we still love each other. My youngest daughter doesn’t really care.
So why am I preaching on this text? More importantly, why am I suggesting that the church should preach on it more? Because we need to keep it real. We need to be reminded that we’re embodied souls that need to touch, kiss, and embrace another person. We need to be reminded that being made in the image of God includes our bodies, that God became a human being, and in doing so affirmed our human experience. One commentary I read suggested that maybe our capacity for desire is a reflection of God’s nature, so that deep meaningful covenantal relationships in which we are able to strip vulnerable and naked before our lover somehow, in some way, reflects God’s desire to be with us and for us in Jesus Christ.
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for your love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.”
Given the terrible tragedies our world has experienced lately—natural disaster, violence, war, terrorism—it’s good to be reminded that love is as strong as death. Maybe, just maybe, good ole biblical love making is just what our tired souls need to be reminded of God’s endless love, grace, and mercy.