Wednesday, 27 June 2012
The Song - Summary
Over the last 3 posts I have tried (not sure how successfully) to summarise some of the ideas we considered when looking at the Song a couple of month ago.
As I mentioned (in part 1, I believe), a lot of people today read the Song as purely about a human marriage relationship and use it as a manual for romance and sex. Yet this has not always been the reading of the book. Most of church history has regarded this as a book about Christ and His Church spoken about allegorically through a human relationship. The book shown about is a prime example of this teaching. Richard Sibbes' work was originally titled "Bowels Opened", which quite simply meant that this book was about the deepest desires. Although I haven't read this book (yet!) it is very clear that Sibbes believed the Song to be fundamentally about Christ and the Church.
I don't believe there needs to be a split between the two views, as though they are incompatible.
I wonder if the best way to read the Song is as primarily about Christ and the Church, because the whole of Scripture is about Jesus, The Word of God. But also saying that, because all marriages are supposed to reflect Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5), the Song too speaks of human marriage and shows what it should be like. As for the explicit sex references, I guess you can make your own mind up on that, but I would say that some of the descriptions I have heard are more stretching metaphors than saying it is about Jesus and His Bride!
I have much to think through when it comes to the Song and I am not sure when I will get to do that. But, it has been stimulating to think about it speaking of Christ and showing Him to be ultimately desirable, loving and beautiful. As well as challenging and comforting to see His delight in His Bride whom He loves and protects.
Happy reading of the Song. May it warm your heart to Christ and build your marriage to more clearly reflect the mystery of Christ and His Bride.