a few friends and i were engaged in a volleying of questions when one of them posed the following: "if you only had one book of the bible to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?". one of my friends responded with the book of exodus, and the other opted for the book of psalms. when it was my turn to answer i hesitated, though there was absolutely no need for such a delay. i knew immediately that my choice would be the song of songs. but somewhere within me there was this embarrassment, this feeling that i was simple-minded or immature for tossing aside all other brilliant books that are filled with the prostrate demanding, bone trembling fear of the lord; books that are complex to the mind and held on pedestals of centuries of theological debates. there was a shadow of humiliation in my choice to dress the song of songs like a crown of daises around my head. should i choose exodus? what about all the major prophets? or what about revelation - only the masters of studies could unravel such a tightly wrapped nucleus of mind boggling literature.
this morning as i spent time in quiet reading my heart was searching for poetry that i could meditate upon. i began with the psalms, then a little proverbs; and in one last effort of desperation i turned to isaiah. but this act of pretending left me empty, unsatisfied, and searching. surrendering to the truth that i am, above all, a woman who would rather have a flowery crown than a scepter of knowledge. so i turned to the song of songs. and there i found what i was looking for. i found truth. i found the relational god who will stop at nothing to woo the heart of his beloved. i found poetry. this small 8 chapter poem is so often overlooked from those who stand behind the pulpit that everyone else sitting in the sanctuary ceases to hear the radiance of god's heart for his people - and this is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of our time. we are a generation who has become numb and unimpressed by god. we are so conditioned by bible stories that the unbelievable fact that even death could not contain him fails to drop us to our knees in worship and humble adoration.
are we a generation of robots that are petrified to feel? i think we worship control and structure more than we crave a wild and dangerous adventure of following after christ. i'm the first to admit that it if far easier for me to rest in my circumstances than it is to trust in the indiscernible movements of the holy spirit. but as i look into my own life and observe the mass population all i can see is passive, unchanged, mechanical human beings. but when the god of all creation explodes his affections over us - how can we not respond with zealous irresponsibility? in song of songs 5:2 the lover who is god showers 4 tenderly transforming truths about his beloved's identity. who is this god that would do such a thing? why don't we hear of this god more often within the church? why are we afraid to let the poetic words, "my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one." unravel our false cords of structured control and liberate us to actually be touched by love?
when i think back to when my friend asked what one book of scripture would i choose to read, i laugh at my momentary pause. the truth is i want to feel - it's my natural make-up, it's the core of who i am. i want to share in the emotions and affection of christ. i want him to sweep the dust from my diluted spirit. i want to fearfully allow him to burn awake the sleeping desires to be filled with sensitive wonder.