Tag Archives: Lovers

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.

Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: Love and Power

“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:

3A: Song of Songs 3.1-5 Love and Power

1. Upon my bed at night
I sought him whom my soul
loves;
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no
answer.
2. “I will rise now and go about
the city,
in the streets and in the
squares;
I will seek him whom my soul
loves.”
I sought him, but found
him not.
3. The sentinels found me,
as they went about the city,
”Have you seen him whom my
soul loves?”
4. Scarcely had I passed them,
when I found him whom my
soul loves.
I held him, and would not let
him go
until I brought him into my
mother’s house,
and into the chamber of her
that conceived me.
5. I adjure you, O daughters of
Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the wild does:
do not stir up or awaken love
until it is ready!

Advent teaches us about the nature of love.  We learn that love and soul mating is far more about a long faithful search than it is about an entitled scramble for fulfillment.

Love today finds itself in danger.  Every message around us tempts us to stir up climatic intimacy before it is ready.  The season of engagement for many couples, like the two in our Song, often evokes our worst fears.  What if I loose the flame of passion for this person?  What if I never had it in the first place?  We have forgotten that deep passion is often about a long and faithful search.

When the Magi found that for which they were searching, they worshipped the child.  Yet theirs was and ours is a journey that takes us over treacherous terrain and requires faithful endurance.  Herod wanted to find Him quickly, leeching off the hard work of the Magi.  Perhaps he thought he wanted to adore the child, yet his true intention was ultimately revealed as power.  I know many men who confuse adoration and power in their love life.  Much of the Human Trafficking industry, which enslaves up to 27 million persons, bases itself on this confusion.

We all want to find a soul mate on this earth, but we will never arrive there without a treacherous journey of faithfulness. Like the Magi, our journey of love must never be derailed when our partner fails to meet our often-bloated expectations of passion.  There are times, especially in cases of domestic power and abuse, when some need to escape their situation by another route (not into the arms another), but into the hands of a Saviour.   Yet all dramas of great love travel through a cave of darkness.  We enter a long hope for the transformation of that broken person, that Soul Mate, which most of us already have our fingertips.

Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: The Gazelle

“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:

2B: Song of Songs 2.8-17              The Gazelle

8. The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9. My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
Behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking though the lattice.
10. My beloved speaks and says
to me:
”Arise my love, my fair one,
and come away;
11. for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
12. The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13. The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
14. O my dove, in the clefts of the
rock,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely,
15. Catch us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that ruin the vineyards
for our vineyards are in
blossom.
16. My beloved is mine and I am his;
he pastures his flock among the
lilies.
17. Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle
or a young stag on the cleft
mountains.

There are two eyes, which watch us through the lattice of our lives.  They belong to a Creator who remembers clearly when life began— when the shaping of gazelle, winter, rain, and flowers set coldly at His hand.  It was then that he imagined us, his beloved. It was then, before he knit us together uniquely in our mother’s womb.

And from that ancient time, He has been whispering to our souls: “Come from your rocky crags that protect you from light places.  Come from those walls, which you use to preservation your fragile life.  These are no more than obstacles to your deepest and most fulfilling destiny.  Do not hide your face beloved, for I made it, and it is sweet,” he calls.

We are so often skeptical that a God, by divine nature, will diminish us.  For gods, we think, take away our precious dreams and most precious projects.  Yet, for all our cunning we fail to see that we often stand in the way of our best futures.  Obstacles pile upon obstacles as we muddy the already veiled future. Herod did this when he heard of a baby King to be born in a humble village.  He sent his force to extinguish this child, who so threatened his kingdom of sand.

Mary’s life project was set to be ruined by this child.  Yet, unlike Herod, she got it right about God,

“His name is Holy; his mercy sure from generation to generation toward those who fear him; the deeds his own right arm has revealed his might: the arrogant of heart and mind he has put to route, he has brought down the monarchs from their thrones, but the humble have been lifted high. The hungry he has satisfied with good things, the rich sent empty away.”

Advent reminds us that the surest path to our own transformation passes through the canyons of our lives. Alone we would surely starve among the rocky crags of our own and other’s making. Yet when we abandon ourselves to the One who is also a gazelle leaping over our mountains of obstacles bounding over the hills of our protection, we have a chance in life.  There he stands on the cleft mountains calling forth our glory from behind the latticework.


Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: From the Shepherd’s Rock to the Lover’s Couch

“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:

1B: Song of Songs 1.7-17: From the Shepherd’s Rock to the Lover’s Couch

7. Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down,
at noon;
for why should I be like one who
is veiled
beside the flocks of your
companions?
8. If you do not know,
O fairest among women,
follow the tracks of the flock,
and pasture your kids beside the shepherds’ tents.
9. I compare you, my love,
to a mare among Pharaoh’s
chariots.
10. Your cheeks are comely with
ornaments,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11. We will make you ornaments
of gold,
studded with silver.
12. While the king was on his couch,
my nard gave forth its
fragrance.
13. My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh
that lies between my breasts.
14. My beloved is to me a cluster of
henna blossoms
in the vineyards of En-gedi.
15. Ah, you are beautiful, my love;
ah, you are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.
16. Ah, you are beautiful, my
beloved,
truly lovely.
Our couch is green;
17. the beams of our house are
cedar,
our rafters are pine.

We often do not experience ourselves as studded lovers full of allure.  We most of the time feel like shepherds in fields keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Many lovers have felt the lonely chill of disappointing sunset, which follow on the heels of a hundred ordinary days.  Many frosted lovers fall asleep night after dark night hoping that their wounded glory might burst forth with the trump of heavenly hosts.

To grow beyond infatuation, young love takes courage and investment.  We must come to face our boring over inflated selves.  And we must learn patience in waiting for God’s time.  For God is busy attempting to turn us into lovers of great skill.  Yet, the gentle process of transformation never happens on our schedule.  And sometimes it comes like a burst of light and heavenly host as the universe points us to the One who works never tiring to change us into great givers and receivers of love.

Our journey to great Love begins on the path where the shepherd’s tracks lie.  For there we find the good news of great joy that a Savior has come not to whisk us away into the starry heavens but to help us discover what keeps us isolated under open skies and tattered roofs.

Life together is built under sturdy cedar beams with rafters of pine.   Under the fragrant beams of trust and grace lovers meet on couches to gaze into one another’s eyes with anticipation.  And the Saviour child is born in a manger, in between beams and rafters and lonely fields.  The path away from the shepherd’s rock to the lover’s couch travels through a manger and in between a warm family full of love where a sweet baby lay.