“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.” – Song of Songs 8:6
Two months ago, my mom gave my dad one of her kidneys. It took a year to get through the transplant process: batteries of tests, both physical and psychological; days of hoop-jumping, bookended by months of waiting; and finally surgery, pain, nausea, and six weeks of recovery. That is fierce love.
I wish more couples would choose this verse from Song of Songs for their weddings rather than the more popular passage from I Corinthians (love is patient, love is kind, zzzzzzzz). For one thing, the woman speaking these death-defying words is talking to her lover, while Paul is talking to church members. Not very romantic.
More importantly, I’ve rarely met a love which isn’t occasionally irritable or doesn’t sometimes insist on its own way. Let alone one that bears, believes, hopes and endures ALL things.
But fierce love? I see it all the time.
The recent widower mooning over his 60-year old wedding photo.
The young wife staying positive in the midst of a separation she didn’t want.
The men who waited years to be allowed to adopt their son.
The partner who has become more caregiver than lover.
The couple staying home for the weekend to sit beside their dog in his final days.
Maybe you’re looking for a love that is never envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. I want a fierce love, a raging flame, strong as death.
Fierce lover, set me as a seal upon your heart. Light the unquenchable fire of love in me.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.