Planting Sunday – Good Beginnings & Song of Solomon 2: 8-13
Good morning! Usually the United Methodist Lectionary is very straight
forward. The scripture readings are as one would expect. And, fairly
easy to share one’s thought on the scripture – whether of Jesus, God,
or one of the Prophets or Apostles. The September Lectionary Theme is
a Season of Creation. Focus on God’s love for the Earth and not just on
We have heard the Scriptures from the book, the Song of Solomon. As
Terry just passionately read, this reading and book has taken a hard-left
turn into a different realm. Maybe this part of the service should be
rate PG or R. This Song of Solomon! What is this book doing in the
Bible? The verses do not show relationship between God and man,
God’s “rules of order, like the 10 commandments, the laws of the
Israelites as in Deuteronomy or Judges, or even the simple songs of
David as in the Psalms.
It is like the writers of the Old Testament were burned out on all the
serious writing. They let their hair and “guard” down. The reading is like
a summer story and not the Bible.
What I am going to attempt is have everyone see these verses in
different layers of meaning. Very similar to stories and parables by
Jesus. There is the story but then there is the real story.
First, the Song of Solomon is a book not usually discussed or shared in
the Church of today. In some corners these writings are considered too
promiscuous and not clean for ears and mouths. The Book is known as
the Song of Songs, the best song of all. There is no hard evidence of
authorship. Though some say it was from the works of Solomon around
1012 BC. Also known as the Canticles, too. Canticle is a song or chant
created from Bible text, and not from the songs of David, the Psalms.
The verses read in the scripture are only the tip of love poems that are
not just sweet and sentimental but strong and visual composition that
show passion between a woman and a man. Actually references are
considered sexual and romantic.
As I said before, this material is for summer reading and not in the
Bible? Let’s think, again, about how Terry read the scripture. Let me
repeat some of the phrases.
? Voice of my beloved
? He comes leaping and bounding among mountain and hills
? He looks like a young stag or gazelle – have any of you guys been
called a stag or even a young buck?
? Arise, my love, my fair one, come away. Good line to use while
dating or leaving a social gathering. how regal.
? Winter is past, rain is over
? Voice of turtle dove heard in the land…how beautiful
? Fig trees are blooming and vines give forth fragrance
? Again…arise my love, my fair one. Come away! How, do I dare say
sexy! and Shakespearean
The woman is the focus and the messenger of words and creating this
romantic mood. Woman, on this reading, we are reminded that we
should listen to them. They should never be underestimated. And this
woman is the antithesis of Eve in the Garden of Eden with Adam. There
is unconditional love and trust. Like the author is reconciling the Adam
and Eve scenario relationship. Notice the young stag does not enter the
space that the woman is in. They are separated by lattice and
foundation. There is trusting relationship as the man invites her out
into God’s world of fresh flowers, fruits, and hills. The sound of these
words makes one feel good, cause a tingling feeling, and a grin on my
Let us shift thinking, a little. Put your church hat on. This stag or gazelle
comes bounding and leaping over the countryside. Have you seen a
stag – they are bigger than deer but slighter smaller than an elk. Found
in northern Europe and Asia. Beautiful, muscular features especially
with 10-12-point antler rack. Could this be God! God is coming to see
the Israelites in the Old Testament. He is inviting the Jews to come join
him. Their wars were over, the hard life is being endured. They were to
stand up and join the Good life, represented by flowers, figs, and the
passing of winter and rain, with God’s endless and unconditional love.
In the New Testament, we as Christians can look at ourselves as being
the reader, the woman could be Christ speaking to us and the man or
stag as God. The woman, described as wise to listen to, is telling us to
get up and follow her as she joins God, in a Union that is stronger than
one between woman and man. The winter rains can represent the trials
and tribulations of Christ crescending at Jesus’ crucifixion. That in
joining Jesus Christ we will enter God’s loving world through following
Jesus. As it says, Arise, my love, my fair one and come away. This
representing the strong bond of God, Jesus, and the Christian Church.
Now, up to now it has been all about us and Jesus and God and woman
and man. How vain is that?
Well! God loves us. It is all about us. But God is not just all about us!
What did you share with Betsy in the Call to Worship:
? Rejoice what God is doing in our world
? God has made us!
? God has made the whole universe and makes new things
? Worship our magnificent Creator
Jesus said to love God and love neighbor
He also said do unto others, as you would want have others do unto
you.! Who said this has to be about people.
And the Lord’s Prayer said “thy will be done on earth as it is done in
What about all the creeping crawling critters, the birds, the fish,
reptiles, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, ice caps and I could go on.
That woman is like us. The stag is God. She is saying that I am being told
to leave my comfortable surroundings of lattice and foundation, and
God is saying, “Come, see and share the rest of this world that I have
created for myself to love and share with you, us, as my believing and
not perfect children
I am not going to use this time to tell all the gloom and doom that is
going on with Earth. I do have a little story to share about God’s home
that he made for us. And, how we have to educate each other. Help
each other to understand this gift, Earth, that he has given us.
Some of you know I substitute Grades K thru 12. Mostly elementary
and middle schools. I was in a 5 th grade class discussing a poem with
imagery…sheaves of wheat reaching for the sky one late afternoon in
the Fall. Great imagery, at least I thought. I asked how many had seen a
field. Some raised their hands and said, Mr. Blake, I have. Great! I
responded Where? He proudly responded with, the Meadowlands!
Another said Hanover Park football field and soccer field. The air went
out of me. Only a handful had seen a real farm or hay field. This
probably means their parents had not either, or even more
disconcerting, it was no longer important to share in that experience
The seed I suggest we plant and I believe God and Jesus want to, too. Is
go out and see the gift God has given us! Share it with others young and
old, children, grandchildren, friends, spouses, important others. One of
my joys is sharing my love and knowledge of God’s world with children
when the opportunity knocks. We talk about God’s grace working
through Jesus thru us to share with others. Don’t forget the others
include Earth and the non- humans who live with us. We do need to
share our grace with them, too.
So, we have taken apart of the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon – a
very rapturous reading about an unconditional love between a woman
and a man through beautiful surroundings and imagery of a stag or
Then, there is strong unconditional love between God and the Jews and
God/Jesus and the Christian Church. God said to both groups that the
time is now to come and follow me.
And, lastly, but not least – just as important to make part of our faith –
an invitation to actively be part of the Earth that God created with as
much love as he has for us. Your Grace can plant seeds of hope and
care for this Earth in the same loving way as God does. It is not too late.
Dear God, thank you for loving us and speaking us through such
beautiful verse that we have shared, today. Help us to trust you to
show us the way, to follow Jesus. And, to share your grace with other
humans and the animals and the Earth that you have given us. We pray
in Jesus name. Amen.