3 April 2017

Song of Solomon 2:1-17

“My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.” (v. 16)

Psalm: Psalm 132


Are you wondering why are we reading the Song of Solomon in the week before Holy Week? Traditionally Christians have viewed this poem as an allegory of Christ's love for the Church, or the soul of the individual: that love which was expressed to the uttermost in his suffering and death. This week we have the opportunity to pause and reflect on the nature of that love. Let us look at this passage from the perspective of Jesus' loving desire for us.

The Song of Solomon is poetry and needs to be read as such. The primary voice is that of a black woman (Song of Solomon 1:5) and the other voice is her beloved, a shepherd who is deemed to be an unsuitable partner for her.

The story of love in the poem - courtship, compassion, intimacy, longing and mutual delight - speak clearly of many of the elements that characterise God's dealings with God's people and shows remarkable parallels with the history of human and divine love. Seeing our relationship with God through the eyes of frustrated, but desperate lovers forces us to ponder the powerful emotions underlying the bond between God and humanity; love which finds its fullest expression in Jesus.

Verses 8-17 remind us that all relationships need to be nurtured, safeguarded and cherished; including our relationship with God in Christ. Intimacy with God and with each other has a cost in terms of time and energy. Our love for Jesus will grow and deepen as our desire to spend time with him deepens. God want us to want to be with God in loving relationship. If we truly love God why would we not want this too?

To Ponder

  • As you listen to the voice of the black woman in the poem what does it evoke in you about Jesus' love for the Church and for you?
  • Read Psalm 132. What echoes do you hear in it of the verses you have read from the Song of Solomon?

Bible notes author

The Revd Diane Clutterbuck

Diane is an ordained presbyter in the Methodist Church. She works as as a coach, supervisor and trainer mainly in the public and voluntary sectors with people and organisations who are committed to growth and development.