Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Love is as Strong as Death

“Love is as strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.  Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.  May waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.  If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”  -Song of Songs 8:6-7

What could be better as we approach Valentine’s Day than to talk about love?  Especially since we have been discussing the Song of Songs in Bible Class these last few months. (that was a shameless plugin btw)

The passage above talks about love in a way that is both positive but also a warning.  Love is as strong as death.  In fact, because the Lord Jesus has risen from the dead, love has overcome death and you will be joined to Jesus in that victory.  Truly, only those things which are connected to Jesus will live forever.

But love is also a jealous thing that burns as fierce as the grave, meaning you can be consumed by it to death.  “I am a jealous God,” the Lord says to Moses.  To cheat on God with idols will cause God to burn against you with wrath.  It is for these sins that Jesus died for you.  What love!

Love from this passage is described like a flash in the pan, it is bright but also short lived.  Oceans cannot quench, drown, or put out love.  Powerful words from the Song of Songs!  
And of course, you can’t buy love.  That is the point of that last line.  If you offered all your wealth for love, you would be a fool.  You can’t buy people affections, at best, you will only have friends for as long as you have money.  We describe love best when we say you “fall in love.”  Love just happens, we can’t force it.

The Song of Songs concludes its love poetry on this theme: Love is a gift from God.  Which means that love, like all of God’s creation, works the way that the Lord designs it.  To work against God’s designs or to force love will cause untold amounts of pain and suffering.  We cannot remake God’s works in our own image.  This is true also of love.  Sin turns love into lust and purity into perversion.   That is why the warnings in the Song of Song are repeated and stressed.

Of course, love in the Song focuses in on the bonds of marriage, but this bond of love extends further than that.  “Of course, I am really talking about Christ and the Church.”  Paul writes when offering his commentary on love in Ephesians 5.

In the Church, we are called to love.  “Owe no one anything, except the debt to love one another.”  Romans 13:8. But once again, a call to love is the law and a call to love is not the same as actually loving.  Love can only be generated as a gift of God.

In High School, I looked around and realized that the people I counted as friends were not friends.  I remember praying to God that he would give me friends, people whom I could love and those whom I would be willing to give all for.

I look back on the last 10 years since I prayed that prayer.  He has answered that prayer, but it certainly has been a rare thing, a gift indeed!  He has given me my wife, Rebecca.  He gave me my family, and my boys.  Through my time in College and Seminary and now here, I have gained only a few close friends.  And each time God gifted, I more so realized rather than achieved it.  Life just kind of happens.  

And of course, God has gifted me all of you.  For that I am thankful.  Thank you for the opportunity for me to love all of you and thank you for loving me in the times I fail at that.
May God send us good friends, good neighbors, and the like.  May we pray for strengthening relationships that are willing to walk with each other here at Christ Lutheran Church to the end.  God be with all of you, my dear loved ones in Christ.

Pastor Andrew