“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth! For your love is better than wine”
~ Songs 1:2 ~
We all love a kiss even if it’s a TCP-infused kiss from your Grandpa or a hairy peck on the cheek from an old family friend. Kisses can be tolerated and wiped away but kisses can also be like strong, we’re-getting-drunk-very-quickly liqour.
Do you remember the first time you experienced a kiss that wasn’t from your Mum or Dad? Recalling my primary school playground in Devon and the little girl who’d been brave enough to pucker up and surprise me with a kiss, on the lips, I remember news spreading around the school like a line of flammable tequila being lit on a bar: Nick and (anonymous little girl) have KISSED!
Incredibly, I remember at that early age of perhaps 8 or 9 years old – at a stage in my life where I still struggled to tie up my shoe laces and pee in a straight line – instinctively associating the heady delight, excitement and adrenaline rush of one solitary kiss on the lips with the desire for life-long, covenantal marriage.
Despite the stereotypical response of children (especially little boys) to witnessing adults kiss (complete revulsion), I had very consciously connected this playground peck on the lips with something altogether different, fiery and, ultimately, all-consuming (note the exclamation mark in our verse).
There was no way that I could know that it would be another twenty three years before I would experience the unique beauty of meeting and kissing my wife, Mairi.
Spirits & Sugars
When you consider the frivolity associated with kissing in culture today, when you consider the number of people you might have kissed growing up through your ‘going out’ years like carelessly emptying pocketfuls of diamonds over a crowded dance floor, when you consider the attitude and value that says it’s only kissing, haven’t we lost something very, very special?
Instead of imbibing bottles of vintage red wine, we pathetically sip cans of diet Coke through childish straws and episodes of acute belching. We’ve exchanged the power of alcohol for the impotence of fake sugar and we wonder why we have Christian dating sites full of Christian divorcees.
The Way It’s Meant To Be
Of course, the pornographic culture of society that we’re all born into wants to erode the innocence of playground kissing with a metamorphosis into lascivious lust, French kissing and the insatiable search for Dutch courage to grease the skids of our sexual gratification.
Somewhere along the way, we lost the wonder.
How far we have
But as true and tragic as this may be for us, this book is an allegory and so Solomon is using the metaphor of kissing to point to something transcendently beautiful. If this is true – that we have sacrificed pearls for pocket candy in a natural sense – how much more true is it that we have lost the wonder and romance, fidelity and the fiery centre, of our relationship with God?
As I have read Song of Solomon over the years and listened to anointed preaching and teaching, as I’ve read books and completed study series, I have become utterly convinced that there is a reality in God – in being fully one with Him in Christ – from which we hear echoes of the heady, all-consuming, public playground scene I describe above: We are to know Jesus like we know debut kissing and holy, virgin love, just like a bride and bridegroom grapple for words to convey the inner realities of their converging lives.
When we read Songs 1:2, above, we read the Spirit-primed prayer of the Shulamite bride who is in a state of pure intoxication. She’s pointing every believer to a height and breadth and depth in the love of God, (and the God of love), that will be our native home forever – eternal, worshipful love-sickness.
Unlike the natural shadows and types of our human love that, perhaps, settle down over the decades into something less describable by fire, the greatest revelation in this magnificent book is that we are invited to know a constancy now in the pulse-raising reality of Yahweh’s unique blend of Raya, Ahava and Dod – the Hebrew love that we’ll come to know in these blogs.
Over the rest of this meandering series, all I want to do is show how this is exactly the way we’re invited and called to know and tell of God, regardless of our personal preferences, sensibilities, ages or sexual orientations.
Jesus is the transcendent Fire of Love – above every other copy, type and shadow that we have – and He desires to be known just as He is.
Would you track with me?