Friday, August 31 2018
My beloved speaks and says to me:
'Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away (Song of Solomon 2:8-13).
Some of us will remember hearing this passage at a wedding. Many couples choose this lesson because the words of the poet express a love that is deeply passionate and long lasting. The attraction we feel to one another at certain times in our lives is palpable. The promise of the passage is that the winter of our lives is over. We yearn for a love that will last our whole life, but the reality is that not all marriages work out and many end in divorce. Our loves oned pass away and it leaves us feeling a little empty. Those of us who have experienced a time of separation or loneliness know the feeling of a long winter. Those who have gone through a difficult time know the feeling of a rain that just wouldn't seem to end. Christ offers us a lasting hope through the love of God. We are offered a relationship with Christ that will ease our pain, fulfill our yearning, and quench our thirst.
God loves us deeply and wants us to come away. God's love is always flowing towards us and drawing us into deeper relationship. The Hebrew word for God's love is hesed. Jews believe that God's loving kindness to them is steadfast. The stories of the Torah witness to God's love for the people of Israel. To Christians, God's love is expressed fully in the Gospel. God gave Jesus Christ to live among us, provide healing, and to teach us how to love God and our neighbor. He suffered, died, and was buried for our sins and shows us the way to eternal life.
In our bible study on Tuesday mornings at 11:00 am, we are discussing the letters to the seven churches in Rev. 2:1-3:22. In the letter to Ephesus, the people are told that if they lack in love for their neighbors, it indicates their lack of love of the Lord. We are asked to love God and all our neighbors, especially those who are most vulnerable. I see our nation divided over many issues and a growing trend of not respecting the dignity of our brothers and sisters. Please pray for racial reconciliation in our community and support our efforts to love all our neighbors as ourselves.
The Sunday after Labor Day is usually the time that everyone comes back to church after school starts and we are back from vacation. We have a special memorial dedication planned for Mary Simon and her family. Please join us this Sunday to give praise and thanksgiving to God. God loves you deeply and waits for your love each and every day. God's love is steadfast and eternal. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
In Christ's love,