By Pastor RAUL GRANILLO
“Solomon’s Song of Songs. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth– for your love is more delightful than wine” (Song of Songs 1:1-2 NIV).
The Song of Solomon is not a top choice for clergy to preach on. It may not be the most avoided book at the pulpit, but it is one that can make us feel uncomfortable. It is, after all, an amorous poem—to say the least.
There are two things that strike me when I read the Song of Solomon. The first is that it is dated. It was written around 3,000 years ago. A great deal has changed in the way we talk to each other from in that time. For instance, in the book, the male lover says to his beloved:
I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh. (1:9 NIV)
I am not a romance guru, but gentlemen, if you compare your beloved to a horse it is probably not going to end well for you! I still laugh when I read it.
While the phrases may be dated, the message is still 100 percent applicable to our lives today—it is about the expression of love. The lovers complement each other. They intentionally express the characteristics that they find attractive in each other. This is significant because it exemplifies an important aspect of communication—building on what is right and beautiful rather than beating down based on weaknesses and shortcomings. It begs the question, “How do you communicate to your loved ones?”
The second thing that strikes me every time I read the book is that intimacy is nothing to be ashamed of. This book has been canonized in the Holy Scriptures; that should tell us something about how God feels about intimacy—sexual or otherwise. God does not condemn sex anywhere in the Bible. On the contrary, He teaches us how to enjoy it to the fullest extent. But even beyond sex, God teaches us how to be intimate with everyone around us. That, however, can be difficult.
Intimacy is something that many of us seem to struggle with, at least to some extent. This is not to speak simply of sexual intimacy, but of general intimacy where a relationship leaves us exposed to others. We might be uncomfortable with others seeing all of us—warts, wrinkles, and all. Our world seems to be very judgmental. It often seems to seek out and exploit any weakness or flaw that we might have in order to tear us down. For that reason, it can be difficult for us to engage in intimate relationships with the world around us.
The truth is that we all have warts and wrinkles—both metaphorically and literally. The one who believes in God’s Word should realize that there is no one without sin—no one who is perfect. As such, we are all in the same boat. The good news is that we are in a hopeful boat.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV).
It is while He looked upon all of our imperfections, bad decisions, selfish desires, impurities, addictions, and acts of evil, that God climbed up on the cross to offer redemption to anyone who would receive it. That is the power of intimacy in the presence of true love.
How intimate are you with the world? You might be surprised at how encouraging the real you can be.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!