Week 49 Thursday

Behold My Beloved

Today’s scripture selection: Song of Solomon 1-2

Key verse: Song of Solomon 2:8

“The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.”

According to tradition and Scripture – King Solomon wrote over a thousand songs (see First Kings 4:32) and spoke thousands of parables.  The Song of Solomon or the “Song of Songs” is one that has long been studied.  Some love it – some think it’s too racy to be in the Bible.  You can decide that one for yourself.

But I see it in a lovely parable; a celebration of marriage as it should be; and a reflection of God’s love for us.

One particularly interesting interpretation of the Song says it is a sort of “Cinderella” story – about a poor girl; a worker in the vineyards.  Her work forces her into the fields where she meets a young shepherd.  It’s love at first sight, but as these stories go – he must leave – promising one day to return.  One day the word comes that King Solomon is arriving in the fields and wants to see the girl.  You guessed it – the shepherd boy has returned as a king – and takes his “first love” home with him.

Whatever you think of such interpretations; they open the mind – and the heart – to the possibility of pondering just how deeply God loves us and how human love is (or at least should be) a reflection of divine love.

So I invite you to turn to this love poem of the Bible.  As oriental poetry goes, it’s really pretty tame.

And it provides us with a lovely picture – of true love – human and divine.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the depth of your love.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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