"My beloved is like a young stag—virile—look there he stands at my window, looking through the lattice." - Song of Solomon 2:8-13
To say that the Song of Solomon is the spiciest book in the Bible is tantamount to saying that Red Velvet cake is the reddest of all cakes. Young lovers ache to be together, they sneak away to secret places and do what they desire with one another, and when they're apart they remember every inch of their beloved's body in monocle-dropping detail. It is so spicy, in fact, that the church has long tried to chasten it by making it a metaphor about the church being in love with Jesus.
But then there's this from Eugene Peterson's translation, The Message:
"My dear lover's raven black curls tumble across his shoulders, fine muscles ripple beneath his skin, hard and smooth—that's my lover, that's my man."
That's how we're supposed to think about Jesus? That doesn't turn down the spicy factor . . . at . . . all.
No, there's only one way to explain the presence of this book in the Bible: Human love is holy in itself.
And I don't just mean hand holdy, googly-eyed, sharing a milkshake love either. Back arching, bed sheet twisting, hope-the-music-was-loud-enough love? That is holy too. It's holy enough to have an entire book of the Bible dedicated to it. It's holy enough to show us how passionately God loves us. And it's holy enough to guide our trembling fingers as we unlatch our heart's doors for God's love to enter in.
Spirit of the Living God, melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.