SansBlogue  
Thursday, April 28, 2005
 
Sex, love and anger ::

Careymedia are putting together another DVD of (15min) sermons with suggestions for use as a starter for homegroups. This year the topic will be "church", so bravely but (perhaps?) foolishly I volunteered to preach from Song of Songs. Now that I have begun preparing I'm becoming aware of the problems...

First the language, I'll be preaching in college chapel, with the camera behind the students, now I can just hear the laughter if I read (or get someone to read) a choice passage full of imagery that does not work for 21st century city-dwellers:
1:12 While the king was on his couch,
my nard gave forth its fragrance.
13My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh
that lies between my breasts.
... giggle, giggle, giggle!

Now, I suppose I can use the giggling, might even get the reader to ham it up deliberately, to allow a 10 second mention of how the culture, and so images, are different. But, how do I (briefly) explain how the text has two meanings: both at the same time, not "either/or"?

What will the point be? Well I'm thinking of using the image from 6:4-5:

4 You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love,
comely as Jerusalem,
terrible as an army with banners.
5Turn away your eyes from me,
for they overwhelm me!

That image of the lover being "terrible as an army with banners", however you translate, speaks of the awesome fear that love involves, as well as warm trust... So I'll talk about the wondrous truth that God loves us, and so we can hurt the Almighty, for love hurts!

Incidentally posting this was prompted by Jeff McCrory's post on "A Mad God", where he talks about Ps 90 (one of my favourites), and and talks about how:

Every Hebrew word for wrath I know appears here: ap =nose flaring (90:7); hemah = heat (90:7); evrah = overflow (90:9). By the way, I have noticed that Hebrew words don’t come across in my blogging program; thus any attempt on my part to be accurate is in vain. These wrath words show up in spades in this psalm. Why? Because these lamenting people experience the presence of God in their world as wrath.
This is where many people who read the Old Testament leave off. But don’t stop here. We have to ask, “Why is God angry?” Is God angry because God is angry, because his nose flares, his back heats up, or his temper overflows? Psalm 90 does not teach this. It teaches that God is angry as a function of his steadfast love (the Hebrew word hesed, which appears in 90:14) in relation to our sin and evil. Hesed is the stick to it love associated with the covenant God makes with Israel. God is angry because God loves us and doesn't want us to destroy ourselves. Because God loves us through his anger, we petition.
Thus anger, here, and I would claim elsewhere in the Bible is always a function of love. This is true in families, and it is true in the biblical family.

Amen!


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