Saturday 04 April 2020

Bible Book:
Song of Solomon

… love is strong as death (v. 6)

Song of Solomon 8:5b-7 Saturday 4 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 121


Certain passages of the Song of Solomon are rarely, if ever, read in church (for fear of causing the congregation to blush and squirm). Today’s passage, however, is an exception to the rule. Song of Solomon 8:7 is the first of the passages suggested by The Methodist Worship Book for inclusion in the marriage service (see pages 371-373 and the additional readings on page 398), alongside arguably more famous passages such as 1 Corinthians 13. Many people attending the weddings of their friends and family may have heard these words, perhaps without realising that they are part of a book that speaks so powerfully and explicitly about human sexual desire.

The Revd Richard Coles recently cited this passage in a ‘Pause for Thought’ in which he revealed that he had received a Valentine’s card from his partner, two months after his death. He maintains that romance, far from being a fleeting, human, transient form of love, is ‘eternal’ – “strong as death” (v. 6).

This week, we have reflected on the varying interpretations of the Song of Solomon – as a romance between a Shulamite woman and her lover, as an allegory for the relationship between God and God’s people, as a metaphor for the love of Christ for the Church. In this passage, some of the romantic imagery has potent meaning for those reading through the lens of the gospels. As we approach Holy Week, we remember the love of God-in-Christ that is “strong as death … fierce as the grave” (v. 6) through which death itself has been defeated.


To Ponder:

  • Why do you think this passage is suggested for the marriage service? Are there other passages you might suggest instead?
  • Having spent time with the Song of Solomon this week, how do you feel it should be read? Should it be taken at face value? Is it a metaphor – and, if so, for what?
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