Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Incredible Love

This week's scriptures are Song of Solomon 2:8-13 and Matthew 11:16-30.

God loves us. Now when I say that, most of you sort of go..."yeah, we know that"-right?

But I mean God LOVES us.

I think that sometimes we lose track of what that means; of the incredible depth and passion that is involved here. It may be because so many of us grow up singing "Jesus loves me this I know" that we think of that love as somehow childish. Or we hear John 3:16 "For God so loved the world..." so often that it quites having a real impact.

Then we look at stories like Hosea. Hosea who loves his wife so much that he goes and buys her back after she's sold herself into sexual slavery...and then tells us that this is what God's love is like. Hosea who, on God's behalf, describes God's love as like a mother remembering nursing her new-born and the time that she taught her toddler to walk.

And then, we have the pictures painted for us in the Song of Solomon (or the Song of Songs if you prefer). This is really hot, sweaty stuff. Much of it is graphic sexual love poetry. It is steamy account of two young lovers and their desire for one another. They can't keep their hands off each other and everything they see reminds them of their lover's body. So much so that the girl in the poetry goes wandering the streets at night in search of her lover.

We're told by the rabbis and other commentators that this book is included in the scripture because it's also description of the kind of love that God has for us. Think about it! There's God, like a young adolescent male, hanging outside his girlfriend's house....peeking through the windows to catch a glimpse of her, waiting for her to wave back at him...gazing through the latticework into the back yard.

What we're being told in no uncertain terms is that God has the hots for humanity. Think about the most powerful erotic loving feelings you've ever had for another person...they don't even begin to touch the passion God feels for you!

Roll together all the images that scripture gives us: Father, Mother, Brother...and now Erotic Lover-even in combination they only begin to scratch the surface of the quality of depth and passion coming to us from God. This is the Love that the hymn says will not let us go; this is the Love that Paul says nothing can seperate us from; this is the Love that not even death could conquer.

I find it a little bit scary, frankly.....but it's a good kind of scary. Think about falling in love. God's in love with you. Can we fall in love with God?

Hope to see you Sunday.
Shalom,
Stephen

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

This is love that God has for us is, indeed, more than a little perplexing. But I think we need to be careful in anthropormorphizing God too much here. Yes, we are made in God's image and share traits, but we can't really equate God's love to our love. Ours is just a beginning, which is why we need to fold the mother, father, platonic, etc into the mix, and I imagine even this is just a start.

Another place we need to explore is the ways in which our relationship with God is different from our relationships with other people. Should it be? Does it have to be, in fact? I think of this because it seems to me that I (and others) approach God as "a best friend." I seem to remember that this idea is pushed pretty hard in many churches. Again, this is just a start. For example, if we look only at the communication part of relationships, what do we find in this comparison? How many of us have problems figuring out what other people mean by certain behaviors? I feel that God can't be as direct to us (as we sometimes are with each other) without overwhelming our freewill - meaning that the relationship MUST be fundamentally different. And I don't think this idea is explored very much by congregations or people in general.