The Song of Solomon is a love poem that challenges us to think about our relationship with God in new and wonderful ways. He wants us to come to Him with the heart of a lover. The passions that He has created within us, for Him and for each other, are amazing gifts in which we are to celebrate and delight. In addition, we come to realize that He delights in watching our beauty and our passion. His heart tingles with joy and excitement when we turn to Him with our love.
In James we are called to get ‘real’ with our religion. The first thing James asks us to do is to set aside our self-righteousness that reveals itself through anger, and listen to what God is teaching us so that we can become aligned in His righteousness. However, simply listening to the Word of God is insufficient. Real religion involves a response and action to God’s word. God does not need mere listeners. In response to God’s blessings we are to be a blessing to others, reaching out with care to those in need and to stand against the evils that are present in a god-less world.
In Psalm 45 we reflected on a poem that celebrates the marriage of a king who had been richly blessed. Within this poem we found ourselves illustrated as the king, whom God has blessed for a purpose. It is through that blessing and His presence in our lives that we are called to “ride on victoriously” in the cause of truth and in defense of righteousness. We also could see our role as the poet, flowing out an unending stream of words in praise and worship for God. Finally, we accept that we are a bridesmaid to Christ, forgetting our past and gladly moving into a future where He is leading.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is teaching us that we do not need to fear change. In fact, our relationship with Him depends on change. Our hearts will be transformed by Christ, if we allow it. The problem, however, is that we have a tendency to build barriers to that transformation in the form of legalistic rituals and traditions. When we engage in long-standing ritual, when our traditions become more important than our worship of God, and when our customs create barriers and obstacles to others, then we have become Pharisees and not disciples. Jesus is calling us to always remain open to new things so that He can continue His work at transforming our hearts.
Points to Contemplate:
Where is God in your life?
Is He first in all things? Do you turn to Him allowing the passions of your love to spring forth unbounded by self-consciousness? Do you listen intently to His Word and respond by jumping into action, becoming the blessing in the world that He intends? Do words of praise and worship for God flow from you in an unending flow? Are you constantly being changed and transformed by the love of Christ?
What barriers to God have you erected? Has your flame of passion been extinguished? Do you choose, instead, to maintain control of your emotions, keeping them in check at all times? Does your life always reflect God’s righteousness, or do you forget whose you are when you walk away from the mirror He holds before you? Are you a blessing? Is the world a better place because of your presence? Do you stand up against wrong and injustice, or is that someone else’s job? Do you resist change? Do you want your worship services to be ritualistically dependable from week to week? Do you feel that there are no new ways to worship God?
Who are you? Are you a king? Has your throne been established and richly blessed by God forever and ever? Are you a poet? Do you praise God in every way possible? Are you a bridesmaid? Are you being led by Christ into a new future filled with hope and joy? Are you a lover? Do you love life, all of creation, and God with an overwhelming passion? Are you righteous? Have you set aside your anger and desires to be right in order to allow God’s righteousness rule your heart? Are you a listener? Do you pay attention to God’s lessons and respond by doing those things He is asking you to do? Are you a Pharisee? Do you resist change and strive to maintain tradition and ritual? Are you a Christian? Have you opened your heart to Christ so that He can transform you into His likeness? Who are you? Prayer of the Week:
Loving God: You have provided us with a week of amazing love and guidance. We pray that you help us to open our hearts to your love. We realize that when we remove the barriers that we have built a flood of passion will break forth. Your love for us in not lukewarm or neutral and when we experience that love, we are transformed in amazing ways. Bless us so that we can be the blessing that you are calling us to be. Teach us ways to build your kingdom. Create in us a sensitivity that will lead us to those in need. Strengthen us with a resolve to stand up for justice and truth. Convict us to remove the barriers of self-righteousness that we have erected. Inspire us to find new ways to worship you so that you can continue to grow us in your likeness. Love us so that we can keep our passions for you alive. Change us into fully devoted disciples of Christ. All this we pray through your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.