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Nearer, my God to Thee...

Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Song of Songs 2.4

The goal of a Christian being ever closer intimacy with the Lord, what better guide than the Song of Songs? Today in church we reach the poem's climax, as the lovers enjoy the ecstasy of their wedding night. This most intimate of moments is conveyed evocatively yet sensitively. Physical realities are veiled in rich imagery so that the effect is sensual without being pornographic. Thereby this most earthy of unions is able to anticipate the transcendent spiritual union which beckons those drawn to God in love. The love between a woman and a man in holy matrimony is romantic, the love between a person and God is divine. Yet both expressions share the same root and the same qualities.

During this life we may be disappointed in love. We may never taste marital love or we may have to endure its going sour through infidelity, or its slipping away through bereavement. But Christians can look forward to an experience of love which will transcend all others and will never fade or forsake us. Realistically, this will not compensate for what is lacking in our enjoyment of intimacy right now but it may be enough to sustain our hope for the future - even if we have to take this eventual inheritance on trust. But that is faith: being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11.1).



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