I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve ever preached from the Song of Solomon was for a wedding.
Now, there’s nothing original about that. I’m actually wondering if I’ve stayed away from it during worship on purpose. At a wedding, everyone’s focus is on the love of two people ready to commit their lives together. The only other thing that matters is where to sit and what’s for dinner. So, to read from the Song is appropriate. It’s a homerun homily.
Well, that depends on which chapter and verses you’re choosing from!
That’s the problem a lot of us have with the Song of Solomon, or the Song of Songs. It goes by several names, actually. We aren’t comfortable with sex talk. Youth groups don’t want to have this conversation with grandma around. Grandmas want to pretend there’s nothing to talk about.
You can imagine how uncomfortable most people would feel if there were more sermons based on the Song. Come to think of it, maybe that’s how I can get people moving around on a Sunday morning.
There are several ways people have looked at Song of Solomon. Because it does focus on the love of two, well, lovers, we’ve always made a connection between God and us. For the Jewish faith, the connection is between God and the Israelites. For the Christian faith, it’s between God and the church.
A lot of Christians don’t like to talk about allegories in the Bible until we get to this book. It’s the best sense we can make out of it. While I can read it that way, too, I also don’t have a problem reading it for what it might be: a sensual love song.
In that light, it’s a creative illustration of love and passion. Love and passion are gifts from God. So, why can’t we celebrate them? Why can’t we celebrate them without it feeling so awkward? The answer, of course, is because we’ve butchered what those feelings can be.
Maybe we need more sermons from the Song of Solomon.
I know the struggles churches are facing these days. I hear from my colleagues and I am a pastor of a church right now. So, I’m comfortable speaking into these situations. Believe it or not, we don’t have a money problem. We don’t have a commitment problem. We don’t even have a getting-people-to-show-up problem.
We’re lacking in love and passion for God. Jesus said it plainly, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Many of us can’t imagine a life so captivated by the love of God. There’s serious stuff happening in the world, preacher. Love isn’t going to pay my bills.
Read Song of Solomon as an allegory, if you’d like. But recall there are still two lovers in the story. Each is just as in love as the other. We know how much God loves us. While we were yet sinners, God gave us his son. That proves God’s love for us.
Now, what about your love?