"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.” Song of Solomon
Our Old Testament reading for Sunday is from the Song of Solomon (2: 8-13), sometimes called the Song of Songs, and is often read at weddings. The whole passage expresses a breathless, boundless, and yearning love that one person seems to have for another. Our passage has often been tapped into as a metaphor for Christ’s love for His Church, as well. What I see in the Song’s whole ethos is something that is often missing in the way that we speak, think about, or act toward each other in the world today: with optimism born of love. The promise of an end to a long winter (how about a long, hot and sultry summer?) – the end to a long stretch of disappointment, bleakness, and challenge is over. I have seldom paid much attention to the reading from the Song of Solomon when it appears but, for some reason, this time ‘round it resonates and reverberates in my spirit. The love that our Lord Jesus Christ lavishes upon us, the sign of a God who yearns for us in a way that seems to make no sense…and yet, Christ is living proof that the God of all life truly does love us, and passionately so. I am getting that vibe this time.
God is beckoning for us, perhaps, to come away from the darkness that threatens to overshadow God’s great gift in Christ? Maybe God, in Solomon’s love song, is ordaining that we jettison the pessimism of partisan politics, “us versus them,” and the-world-is-the-way-it-is-and-we-can’t-do-a-thing-about-it kind of thinking and embrace love born of hope, promise, and goodness. Our faith calls us to joy, renewal, and refreshment – all of which we are also commanded to share. We are called to be people of light but, in order to be light, we must have the courage to see God as a pathway to true joy, complete love, and not merely as something to believe in.