Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 212

The scriptures read are Song of Songs 1-3, Psalm 23 and Colossians 4.

Song of Songs 1-3. This sexy poem got into scripture because rabbis insisted it was a metaphor for God's love for his people. But they needn't have used that excuse. There is nothing wrong with sex per se, just with how we try to divorce it from committed love. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, God likes sex. He invented it. It's also the very first commandment--"Be fruitful and multiply"--and the only commandment we've wholeheartedly obeyed. So this poetic drama/wedding liturgy is not out of place in the Bible.

Interesting how the issue of the darkness of the woman is discussed. She is worried about being looked down on by other women because she is brown from working in the fields, tending flocks. Her lover seems not to have problems with her pigment, though.

The universal connection between spring and love is on display. Winter retreating and flowers blooming.

Lots of longing expressed in this interval where the woman searches the darkened streets for her lover.

The king arrives in his carriage to take his fiance to their wedding.

Psalm 23. Lots to choose from, of course. Here is a heartfelt version, but I also like this lively gospel-inflected one.

Colossians 4. Slaveowners are reminded that they, too, have a master. So they had better treat their slaves well.

Paul mentions Onesimus, one of his brothers in Christ. Make note of him. We shall meet him again when we read the letter to Philemon, in which Onesimus plays a major part.

Paul mentions Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, Paul's original missionary partner. They split up over Mark, who left in the middle of their previous missionary journey. Paul's evidently changed his mind about Mark. And this is traditionally the Mark who wrote the first gospel.

Paul tells them of a letter he sent to the church in Laodicea. He tells them to swap letters. This shows us how Paul's letters got so well known through the churches. People evidently made copies and sent them around to share with other Christians.

Paul signs the letter, something he apparently started doing to show that they were really from him. Were phony letters attributed to him circulating? This could explain why Paul gets so angry with his opponents and why he feels the need to defend himself and what he really believes.

No comments:

Post a Comment