Thursday, May 2, 2013

Song 7 Mutuality of Love

Song 7:6-13 
He: How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit." May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,the fragrance of your breath like apples,  and your mouth like the best wine.
She: May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom — there I will give you my love. The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old,that I have stored up for you, my lover. NIV

There is mutuality in marital love: the bridegroom is visually excited by the physical forms of his bride (feet, thigh, navel, waist, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, head, and hair) and starts to verbalise his desire for her while the bride is verbally aroused by the groom's sexually stimulating words and comparisons. The whole love-making process is compared to participating in a feast - with wine, wheat, fruits. The bride is the feast, and the groom is the consumer seeking satisfaction. The groom's verbal admiration stimulated by the vision of her physical forms stirs up the bride's desire for consummation: "Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom — there I will give you my love. The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover." 

So it goes a full cycle: the groom is visually stimulated by his bride's physical forms, giving off verbal praises which then "turn on" the bride to make her ready to offer herself to the groom. God has designed sex as a mutually affirming act of stimulation and satisfaction.

Is there a spiritual lesson from such sexual intimacy? Paul says in Ephesians 5:31-32 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church." Paul, in effect, is saying that the sexual relationship is a mystery representing Christ the Bridegroom and the Church who is the Bride. Even as Christ has expressed through the Scriptures and the Spirit his love for the redeemed, the Church needs to hear his affirmations daily in order to be able to respond and offer herself to Christ the Bridegroom in this mutuality of self-giving. It's only when we are regularly listening to His words of affirmation through the Scriptures or tuning in to His Spirit in unceasing communion throughout the day that we can respond in joyful and glad self-surrender to Christ in worship. 

Those who us who lead worship are often confronted by congregation members who look "stoned" on Sunday morning and totally "turned off". Like a bride that is not fully prepared for love-making, the reason may be a lack of time spent in the Word throughout the week listening to words of affirmation from the Bridegroom. Perhaps, instead of just starting off with a fast song, the worship leader may need to set the stage for worship by reading some words of affirmations from the Bridegroom. Such spiritual, emotional and mental preparations are necessary to get the congregation ready for worship. 

Worship is somewhat like love-making, because it follows the same sequence: (1) preparation (2) arousal (3) climax (4) satisfaction.

Father, thank You that You have shown us that physical intimacy is meant to reflect the mystery of a believer's union with You in worship. May You help us become better worshipers as we give ourselves to listening to Your Word daily. Amen.

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