His parents were thrilled. He was eight years old and was learning how to read. He was happy, too, for now he could read that bundle of letters in his parents’ bedroom closet. He got them and started to read. After a few minutes, he walked into the living room, the letters in his hands. His mom and dad were watching television.
“Dad, you really write all of this stuff to mom?”
So . . . I took the letters and looked at them . . .
The Song of Solomon or Song of Songs is a bundle of love letters from King Solomon’s closet. It is actually a collection of love songs or poems that tenderly and frankly tell of the love between a man and woman. The whole book is like a musical in which the players, a groom and bride and even a chorus of singers, take turns singing to one another of the love they feel.
Yes, it’s a curious book, not the kind of book that you would normally associate with the Bible because it’s subject is love – romantic love between a husband and wife. Indeed, we usually think of the Bible as being against that sort of thing, you know, “Thou shalt not.” But this book is in the Bible to remind us that marriage, that intimacy, that passion, that romance – all are the good gifts of God meant to enrich our lives. They are not something to be ashamed of but celebrated, cherished, and enjoyed! It’s here to challenge us to keep romance, keep love alive in marriage; keep our love fresh, new, vibrant. This is what the wise father tells his son in the Proverbs 5:18ff:
“ . . . and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.. and be thou ravished always with her love.” Keep the flame of romance alive! Keep it burning brightly! Keep love alive!
Fortunately, the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon gives us some insights into just how to do this.
First, recall that this is a bundle of love poetry. It’s letters, poems, songs written to each other. It is a reminder to us to take time to write to one another, to leave little post-its where your spouse will see them. Send a card with flowers unexpectedly to where he or she works. Yes, even a love-filled email frequently shows you are thinking about one another. Little acts of love like this help kindle the flame of love, keeping it glowing, keeping it alive.
I like to write my own, as my son discovered. I will have to be a better job of hiding those. I simply do not often find a card that says what I really want to say, anyway. So I compose my own. They are not polished, but they seem to mean the most – not to mention that I took time to do them.
Second, notice that this couple in our reading today took time to be together. They made time for one another. They could hardly wait to be together. In our busy lives today with work and family and even church activities, such time can be neglected.
A long-married couple was sitting in the living room. He was asleep in his easy chair and she was watching TV. Suddenly a violent tornado struck the house. It ripped off the roof, picked the man and woman up, swirled them into the air, and deposited them a mile from home. The husband, seeing his wife sobbing, said, “Stop crying, can’t you see we’re safe?”
“I’m just crying because I’m so happy,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve been out together in ten years.”
The Song of Solomon warns us not to neglect to nurture what is the primary relationship of the home – our marriage. It’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our children. The children need that example, they need to see that we value our relationship as husband and wife.
Let me suggest that you read together this little, neglected book in the Bible. It will give you a lot more ideas about keeping love alive.
Sermon brief provided by: Bass Mitchell, an Elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church serving in Charlottesville, VA