Our lowly love

Yesterday, we read from Song of Solomon.

I confessed that I haven’t preached much from that book. I’ve prepared even fewer devotionals or Bible studies related to it. So, for good measure, let’s consider what God might be speaking to our hearts from this love song.

The female lover speaks in Chapter 2. She assumes a humble and expectant attitude toward her love. “As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens,” she says. As a thankful spouse myself, I have often found myself gazing at the love of my life, too. I am grateful our paths crossed. We came from different worlds, so to speak, but once we connected it was for good.

I’m a nice guy, but I have my faults. Who I am is not always who I want to be. What I do is not always what I said I would do. Still, my imperfection does not keep her from loving me or joining her whole life with mine. In that light, she is a gracious reflection of the love of God. When you experience true grace, it is humbling.

I trust many of you feel the same way.

You see, therefore, how we can relate to scripture’s love song.

When I began preaching, early on I knew how I wanted to present the gospel. The best way I learned to preach was by joyfully offering Christ. I could never shame someone into believing. I don’t know how to scare anyone into professing Christ as Lord. What I know, I share. And what I know is that Christ is far better than what the world offers.

I don’t have to focus and press you on how bad riches are. We can read what Jesus has to say about them. When I preach, I can spend more time showing you how better it is to have Christ than more money. Why would I want to humiliate someone who struggles to forgive someone in their life? I’d rather show them how learning to forgive heals our souls.

How could I deride someone who has yet to live into a full faith in Christ when I know how long it took me? Instead, I can remind you that the love we have to offer God does not compare to the love God has blessed us with. And yet it is enough. God accepts it, as lowly as it may be.

Most people are familiar with traditional wedding vows: to have and to hold for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until we are parted by death.

Our United Methodist liturgy offers other vows to use. Two lovebirds can promise “to join with you and to share all that is to come.”

What a beautiful way to see our communion with God. God offers us an unending love. The Lord receives our blunderous love and promises to never leave us. We are God’s beloved. With that promise, we can confidently join and share all that is to come with God.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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