My poem, Continuous is on Spillwords Press. It is about the ability of love to take over a whole being.
The piece first appeared here July last year (2016). Hope you enjoy! Please remember to rate it.
I wrote here a supposedly short description but somehow, my thoughts flowed all over the page. You may read it below.
I have found myself in a most important journey of my life—in search for the meaning of love. As a writer, I looked everywhere including what people like to discuss the most, i.e., romantic love, and we have known that over the years in the lives of humans, romance has been the favorite subject of literature, poetry, art and even technological advances. Everything seems to be made in connection with beauty and romance and it is not easy to ignore. Everyone must have their own opinion and everyone has experienced it even for at least a moment in their life. Interestingly enough, I think the meaning of love in the context of romance remains elusive, for I believe when a topic is most discussed, it is left to be most misunderstood.
I pored over the Song of Solomon in this quest, since I believe Solomon himself had that zeal and passion (a hundredfold, perhaps) to search for the same thing— what with having experimented all his life with abundance of his riches and skills at his disposal—to acquire for himself 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:3) Surely an outstanding feat! The authorship of the book of Songs has always been attributed by Bible scholars to the king in the early days of his reign, so we keep that in mind.
The recurring verse(phrase) in the book of Songs, that I think is also most widely used is this: “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it is ready.”
The word love is a form that in other translations was noted to have an addition “[my] love” and is used several times in the book in the exchange of words between the lover and his beloved. It’s slightly different with the “love” used in referring to those of the other daughters of Jerusalem. The same form of (root of the word) love is God’s love for Israel (1 Ki 10:9, 2 Chron 2:11,9:8), Ephraim—his descendants (Hos 11:4), and the very love that Israel seeks (Jer 2:33); it is the love that covers a multitude of sins and keeps no record of wrong (Prov 10:12, 17:9); everlasting love of God (Jer. 31:3); it is also how Jonathan loved his own soul, as his love for David surpassed even those of women (1 Sam 20:17); and it’s the love of a bride to her groom in her youth (Jer 2:2) and Hosea’s love for his harlot wife (3:1). Love this good is poetically described to somehow season the food one eats (Prov 15:17).
I have only mentioned a few instances and we already see the power of this kind of love that gets knit to the soul. But in reference to the verse, there is a warning that is repeated even towards the end of the book (Songs 8) as a conclusion: “Do not stir up nor awaken love when it is ready.”(v.4) It is unquenchable, its bond stronger than death (vv.6-7) powerful enough that losing it (in the context of God’s love) is as good as being cursed and punished severely (Hos 9:15). There is power and hence a danger, that in the case of Solomon’s brother Amnon’s love for their sister Tamar, it resulted in rape and hatred greater than his love (2 Sam 13:15). It was the same love used as the emotional blackmail of Delilah to demand from Samson (Judges 16:15). The real danger of this love is found in Solomon’s life for it has led his heart astray from the love of God. It caused him to worship other gods and turn away from the LORD. (1 Ki 11:1-2).
In all this, I could only say that power in itself takes no side in good or bad, right or wrong, security or danger. Rather, it is us as humans and our flaws and vulnerability that can somehow transform the power. Love, as seen as the love of God, that is, devoid of human frailty can go so far it can heal, save, and conquer anything on its way. A pure love that is not corrupted by lust, greed or selfish ambition is the kind that should be celebrated and aimed for. Yet, we know that only a holy and righteous God is capable of it, so much that even His own jealousy is justified. For putting anyone above God offends His nature. Love like his can hurt but it does not harm, and is capable of a transformation that turns a heart of stone into flesh. So powerful.
It was displayed in His son Jesus and is seen in whose sacrifice was not only on that day on the cross but from the moment he was conceived, stripped off his glory as king of kings, born as the lowliest of lowlies, subjected to his parent’s and temple authority until he came of age and was not supposed to use any of his spiritual gifts until he was baptized (except in Cana which he clarified was before his time). He was challenged as he was tempted in the wilderness (showing his love was beyond lust, greed or selfish ambition). Shamed all throughout until his torment and death, all for the salvation of the people who persecuted him. Forsaken by his Father at the last moment and He went on. That is the power of love. There was once a book of fiction that opened a suggestion on how Christ must have married someone before (Magdalene), since his love would have been incomplete otherwise. They have overlooked one basic teaching of Christianity, i.e., the lovely bride of Christ, which actually exists and is being prepared even on this day for the grand wedding—the Church. The body of Christ. His people. Growing more loved and in her first love as the wedding day approaches.
“Do not…until it pleases” speaks of timing and preparedness. For love is like a seed that grows and the farmer needs to be patiently using time to till the soil, tending the plant, to be ready for the harvest. Love may come naturally to us as humans, but the fruits are unnatural. Kindness, patience, mercy, joy, forgiveness, etc. It takes time to develop these. A waiting before the appointed time and a hastening and discernment when it does come, for seasons change and the fruits should not be left rotting on the ground but enjoyed. Freshness of the fruit is important for as humans, the newness of something is significant, even in our love. Our love should imitate that of Christ—a covenant bond (Neh 1:5) that is everlasting, unquenchable, being renewed day by day until that hour approaches.
This is how I conclude, though not fully, for I am still starting in my quest, learning things the hard way. I believe anyone who has not loved at all must have been most unfortunate to be deprived of life’s greatest pleasures, but perhaps, fortunate enough to be spared from the greatest torment that a bond of longing for possesion can impose to an imperfect human being. There is much to see in this journey, but nothing more than looking at the life of Christ and imitating His love more than anything. Otherwise, the power of love will not be used best in His purpsose. We trust Him, even in our instinct to love and seek love. His will is good, pleasing and perfect, after all. Everything is beautiful in His time.
Interesting points about God’s love for additional study:
Zeph 3:17 – the love that can quiet
Psalm 22:6- love that secures
Prov 27:5, Rev. 3:19 – love that rebukes/disciplines better than hidden love
1 Jn 4:18 – perfect love drives out fear
Ps 136 – God’s love that divided the red sea, struck down nations and armies, overthrew kings, empires and rulers is the same love that rescues, nourishes, builds, restores, preserves and heals. Love that is fierce and unrelenting is also merciful, gracious, generous towards His people.