Summary: Jesus, the bridegroom.

Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message on Snapshots of Jesus 07 – The Bridegroom; Date: 28 February 2010

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The Bridegroom

What does it feel like to fall in love? How strong and mad can love be? The Bible is an old book and therefore knows a thing or two about love. It includes one intense love poem which is called the Song of Songs. Let me read to you some excerpts. There is no mincing of words – Song of Songs 1:2-3: “Kiss me – full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine, headier than your aromatic oils … ” Song of Songs 1:12-16: “When my King-Lover lay down beside me, my fragrance filled the room. His head resting between my breasts – the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh … ” Songs of Songs 1:15: “ … You’re so beautiful! And your eyes so beautiful – like doves!” Song of Songs 2:3-4: “ … All I want is to … taste and savor his delicious love … ” Song of Songs 2:5-6: “ … I’m about to faint with love! His left hand cradles my head, and his right arm encircles my waist!” Song of Songs 2:16-17: “My lover is mine and I am his … ” Song of Songs 3:1-4: “Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful … ” Song of Songs 4:1-5: “You’re so beautiful … Your lips are jewel red, your mouth elegant and inviting … Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.” Song of Songs 4:6-7: “The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh … You’re beautiful from head to toe … beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Songs 7:1-9: “ … Your limbs are lithe and elegant, the work of a master artist. Your body is a chalice, wine-filled … ” Song of Songs 7:9-12: “ … I am my lover’s. I’m all he wants. I’m all the world to him … ” Song of Songs 8:6-8: “ … Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing – it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out … ”

There may be some who think that this kind of language is not appropriate for church. “Kiss me – full on the mouth” – this is too sensual – too many untamed passions. This is not measured Sunday preaching. Yet, here comes the surprise – the deep secret of our faith (what we may take a hold of this morning): The lovers – on the highest level (from the perspective of eternal destiny) – are God and his people. “Kiss me – full on the mouth” is the language of faith. “Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful … ” – this is the yearning of God for us and our yearning for him. There is no intensity between man and woman that is not also in our relationship with God.

What do you make of this claim? Is this your own experience with God? One seminary professor writes [abbreviate and retell in your own words]:

“One of the most pleasant tasks I had … was to teach the book of Psalms [psalms are songs to God using language not unlike the Song of Songs] … As much as I love the Psalms, however, there were two things that consistently ‘bothered’ me whenever I meditated on the Psalms in those days. I felt uneasy about the psalmists’ intense pursuit of God. Let me give you a few examples of the kind of intensity that troubled me. ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?’ (42:1-2). ‘O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water’ (63:1). ‘One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple’ (27:4). ‘My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises’ (119:148) …

The writers of the Psalms had a longing for God’s presence that was overwhelming – and that bothered me … It bothered me because I began my Christian life with at least some of that longing. When I was seventeen years old, as a new convert, I remember staying up late at night after everyone else in my house had gone to bed, so that I could talk with God and have no interruptions or distractions. I can remember running to the mailbox to receive my latest packet of Navigator verses to memorize and then staying up till 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, meditating on those verses and memorizing every one of them.

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