Song of Songs 2:8-14
Hark! My lover–here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!
“For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”
First off, sorry this post is so late today. I’ve been traveling for most of the day and visiting family for the rest of it, so I haven’t had much time. Today, I decided to do my reflection on the first reading, because today’s gospel reading is the same as yesterday’s. That will be the third time this gospel reading has made an appearance this Advent! I wonder if that points towards the Church desiring to place emphasis on it, or if it’s simply coincidence?
The first reading for today is taken out of Song of Songs (also known as Song of Solomon). In this section, the woman praises her lover, and then spends several paragraphs quoting him. The woman quotes her love as saying, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!” Later he says, “let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.” The Song of Songs is one of my absolute favorite books in the bible, both because of its beautiful phrasing, and because of its romantic language. What woman wouldn’t appreciate being called “my beautiful one” and “my dove?” Though some of the comparisons are a bit odd–“your hair is like a flock of goats”–the sentiment is not lost. At its core, Song of Songs is about a young couple who is deeply in love.
The interesting thing about this book, is that some people refuse to read it at all, and many others do not even realize such a book exists. This is because the book contains language that is…well, erotic. Non-Christians tend to be surprised that the bible contains such content and Christians tend to avoid it altogether. Contrary to popular opinion, however, Song of Songs is not dirty, impure, or lust inducing–despite the imagery its young lovers choose to use. Such imagery is actually crucial to the purpose of the book as a whole. Song of Songs shows love as it was created to be–pure, holy, passionate, and shared between husband and wife.
It has also been said that Song of Songs is a poem about the love between God and his people. In this interpretation, God would be the lover, and we, the Church, his bride or beloved. This symbolism is beautiful because the story can work equally well both ways–as a story about God and his people, and as a story about a betrothed couple. The Song of Songs places emphatic underlines beneath the parallels between earthly marriage and God’s relationship with mankind. In today’s society, where marriages crumble, it is a very important comparison to make.
What do you think of the Song of Songs? Let’s talk about it!