Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: The Garden Gate

“In the coming weeks, I will post seventeen short Advent reflections on the Song of Songs from a young man learning to be a lover and a husband, who at the same time struggles to plant his worth as the beloved Bride of Christ.  My guiding question:

How does the birth of God’s Son transform the broken projects of struggling lovers into aspirations for soul mating?

Click here to read the general introduction:

4B: Song of Songs 4.8-16                       The Garden Gate

8. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon.  Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.  9.  You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.  10. How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride! how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!  11. Your lips distill nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon. 12. A garden locked is my sister my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed.  13. Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, clamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices- a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.  16.  Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden that its fragrance may be wafted abroad.  Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Advent reminds us that for the sake of true love, our hearts must find their way through obstacles to openness.

When Zechariah encountered the angel and its message, he responded with a question: “how can I be sure of this?”  Mary responded with a question and a declaration, “how will this be” and “May it be to me according to your word.”

When it comes to love and love of God, the difference between these two responses stretches like a wide gulf.  The difference is openness.

The bed of many lovers swings between these responses.  In closed suspicion, one lover questions their beloved with reluctance: how can I be sure of this?  The man in our Song describes his lover as a locked garden.  As the pressure mounts in our day for girls to pry open their garden gates, garden locks surely remain a blessing.  But when the marriage day comes, young women must learn to open and young men must prove themselves worthy.  In an age of divorce it is not enough to say, “You married me, or I married you.”  We men must show proof first that we are good gardeners.  Otherwise we will find ourselves as beggars at the locked gate of our mating destiny.

While a man searches to prove his ability that he can enjoy the subtle growth of foliage and the mystery of the flower’s scent, the woman gently allows the Spirit to awaken her and grants that her beloved come to his garden and eat the choicest of fruits: “may it be to me, young man, according to your word.”

The joy of our divine Soul Mate rests in His character.  He is good and faithful.  And when His lover responds with openness, the divine embrace becomes like never ending source of joy and strength in a broken down world.  There in the garden of our souls, we can let the choices of fruits be picked, for unless we give them away we will forget they exist and our glory turns into isolated compost.  We owe it to ourselves to let worthy lovers and the Worthy Beloved eat our best produce in a covenant of love.