Song of Songs 2.8–13
Mark 7.1–8, 14–15, 21–23
The whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the Scriptures are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. — Rabbi Akiba (in Harvey Cox and Stephanie Paulsell, Lamentations and the Song of Songs, Kindle Ed’n, p.189)
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. — Where there is love and affection, there God is.
To be in love is to live beyond the boundaries of the self and to enter a realm of sheer delight, in which the human and the divine can merge. Human love both allows us to celebrate God through our bodies and educates us in loving and being loved. — Julia M. O’Brien, in Feasting on the Word, Year B, Vol.4, loc.333
This is how the Song of Songs begins:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
I was around fifteen years old, a new Christian and a keen reader of the scriptures. When I first started reading the Song of Songs, I was mortified that something so—well, arousing—should be in the Bible. So I stopped reading this book. Possibly, I stopped around 1.13:
My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh
that lies between my breasts.
My fifteen year old self was trying hard to be good. He was disturbed that there is an erotic poem slap bang in the middle of the Bible.
He would have been quite relieved to find that the Song of Songs only appears twice in our three-year lectionary, and may easily be ignored.