Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Love the church (The Song 3:6-5:1)

Thoughts welcome on this sketchy outline which should fit somewhere in the upcoming 'Love the church' weekend.

Intro: Do you know the love of God? We all want to be loved. Exploring this in our experience and culture - the desire for acceptance and appreciation. Perhaps some critique but mostly I want to draw on the good of this.

Not just any man: The LORD (smoke in the wilderness), The King (David’s son) who comes and dies for the one he loves, the aroma of the wedding is the aroma of Jesus' death. He comes for his bride - the day of his gladness... the wedding supper of the lamb.

He’s not besotted with ‘you’ (The Song isn’t "Jesus and me"); Christ is besotted with the church whom he loves. He is totally captivated with her, his death has made her shiny and beautiful.

So, be part of the one he loves: Love the church. Orient your life, your Christianity, around the local church and you’ll be caught up in the love of Christ. Get drunk on love as you live out your Christian life in the church, learning to love brothers and sisters and know the love of God through them and with them.


  1. Is this for Sunday morning?

    Looks great btw!

    Enjoying reading the pdf you sent although I am on catch up as I forgot to take it with me on the plane as I said I would!

  2. Cool. I especially like your point 2 in the light of various things I've been reading lately on the Song.

  3. Good stuff Dave - although worth noting that as well as looking at Ch.4 in the context of Christ and the Church, the blatant sexual nature of the passage can't be ignored. Two lovers enjoying each other - celebrating God's gift of sex!
    Obviously it depends on your audience as to how far you want to explore that!
    I've just been part of a 'Husbands' Club' recently which has explored SoS a lot and there are so very many theories and ideas cooked up by scholars - almost embarrassed that the Bible can be so overtly explicit - who have tried to gloss over and ignore it.
    The idea of Christ enjoying his Bride - the Church - is spot on IMHO. But it's not the only explanation for some of the language in there!
    Sex is a gift from God and Solomon and his bride clearly revel in it and take great delight in it. This passage is really helpful for explaining to non-Christians that Christianity is not prudish - but in fact celebrates sex (in the context of marriage, of course!).

    Sure you know all this already, of course....Feel free to ignore! If you've not read it already, C.J. Mahaney's book, "Sex, Romaance and the Glory of Got" is good on SoS.

  4. Chris, I do think there is a secondary application - and my temptation would be to an application to married people to model 'Christ and the church' rightly. But, as previously argued here, and excellently by others I think it has to be Christ and church first.

    Ros, yeh - I want to be really careful cos I think it is still fair to say he loves each of us. But, of course it's not that he loves us as we are, but as we are in Christ. And in Christ can't be separted from with rest of the church.

    Richard, yeah that sort of what I'm thinking though to be honest I'm still very scared of teaching The Song. I totally love it but it feels big to preach. I will probably use the previous passage in The Song during my first session on Saturday.