Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Song of Solomon

There once was a man who had been strictly warned of the dangers of falling into the ditch on the right hand side of the road. So fearful was he of doing this that as he walked he kept as far away as possible from it; but he ended up falling into the ditch on the left.

The moral of this little parable is that often when we seek to avoid one error, we end up falling into another, opposite one.

Christians tend to be well aware of the dangers of sexual sin, and so we take measures to guard ourselves against it...as we should. In doing so, however, we are sometimes tempted to think that it is sex itself which is sinful. We forget that God created us male and female and that he intends husbands and wives to enjoy one another sexually.

My sermon this week will be an overview of “The Song of Solomon,” which is a celebration of marriage and the delights of the marriage bed.

It seems that the church for much of its history has been embarrassed by the sensual nature of the book and has sought every means possible to make it say something other than what it says.
At a very early date it was thought that the book had to be treated as an allegory; otherwise the inclusion of a love song in the Biblical canon could hardly be explained. What’s a work that makes only one casual reference to God (8:6), and speaks at length of the joys of human love doing in the canon of Scripture? Surely it must be an allegory of some sort.

But the book is clearly a love song. It’s meant to be erotic, but not in a graphic or profane way. Its language is indirect. It’s allusive, not explicit; and it serves as a corrective to an unwarranted Christian prudery on the one hand, and to a vulgar promiscuity on the other.

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