Sunday, February 24, 2013
Scratching the Surface of the Song of Songs
Scratching the Surface of the Song of Songs
I'll never forget going to see the Broadway production of Stephen Schwartz's Pippin with my female French professor back in 1972; featuring the original cast directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse that included Ben Vereen, Jill Clayburgh, Leland Palmer, Irene Ryan, John Rubinstein, Ann Reinking, and so many rising stars of stage and screen.
And I'll never forget the ooooooohs and aaaaaaahs and swooning sighs in the audience as well as in the seat next to me as Clayburgh and Rubinstein sang Love Song.
Though it ain't Jill and John, the next video will, uh, help, uh, illustrate, uh, what, uh,..
Pretty, uh, romantic stuff from the guy who wrote Godspell.
Actually, the Bible is full of romance with Solomon's Song of Songs at the top of the hit parade.
If it weren't in the Bible for reasons that I picked up while scratching the surface, it could/would have been picked up by a scriptwriter for AMC, FX, HBO, or Showtime.
It's flirty, real, and even erotic in describing courtship, celebrating a satisfying sexual relationship, and marriage with the four essential emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical components.
Several conclusions about sex for a believer can be reached by a contextual reading of this book.
First, there is monogamous marital intent: "My heart is your captive..."
Second, the conclusion of Genesis echoed by Jesus is confirmed throughout the book without exception: "Haven't you read that in the beginning God created humanity male and female? Don't you remember what the story of creation tells us about marriage? 'For this reason, a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' What God has brought together, let no one separate.'"
Third, the best time for sex is within the covenant of marriage - not before or apart from the covenant of marriage - between a woman and man who acknowledge God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior: "I charge you not to excite your love until it is ready...Don't stir a fire in your heart too soon..."
The sexual component of marriage is a gift from God for wife and husband; moreover, along with the emotional and intellectual and spiritual components, it is an essential component of marriage.
As long as both wife and husband are able, they are expected to be willing.
Whether it's this book or Proverbs or the apostle or common sense related to human behavior, it's undeniably clear that a woman and man called to spend the rest of their lives together in marital bliss have an emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and sexual bond and passion for each other; desiring and not denying the celebration of that emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and sexual bond.
Let me be crude.
If they ain't, they ain't.
A healthy and balanced marriage - emphasizing, again, both wife and husband being able - will include all four components; and if any component is missing, the marriage is not healthy or balanced and vulnerable.
That's a big part of what this book says and it is confirmed within the context of the whole book.
Surely, I'm not suggesting this one book or these few paragraphs just scratching the surface of it are comprehensive to the subject of sex in marriage; but I am saying He's saying through this book confirmed by the rest of the book that a healthy marital sex life is one of the best barometers of a marriage's health as confirmation of God being the Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior of the marriage.
Bluntly, as I recall Barth writing, "A divorce only occurs where a marriage never existed."
Within the context of this book within the context of the whole book, marriage includes sex.
If not, not!
Let me be even more specific.
According to the book, marriage must include sex along with or as measurement of the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bond.
Not good sex.
It's right there in the book!
One more thing.
Like other books in the Bible, the Song of Songs may use romance and marriage as a metaphor for God's lavish love and marital-like commitment to His people and vice versa.
This mutual fidelity includes total commitment to each other.
God proved His part by total commitment to us in Jesus.
We prove our part by our total commitment to Him - emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically.
It works either way.
Either way, it's a very, very, very inclusively big match made in heaven.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!