Spiritual Discipline for the Week – Love

Today in church, Pastor Sarah challenged us to practice the spiritual discipline of Love this week. We began with a passage from the Song of Songs 2:8-13.

Listen! It’s my lover: here he comes now,
        leaping upon the mountains,
        bounding over the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
        or a young stag.
Here he stands now,
        outside our wall,
        peering through the windows,
        peeking through the lattices.

My lover spoke and said to me,
“Rise up, my dearest,
        my fairest, and go.
Here, the winter is past;
        the rains have come and gone.
Blossoms have appeared in the land;
        the season of singing has arrived,
        and the sound of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The green fruit is on the fig tree,
        and the grapevines in bloom are fragrant.
Rise up, my dearest,
        my fairest, and go.

For many centuries, the Song of Songs was one of the most read and studied books of the Bible. And then a puritanical streak appeared in Christianity, and it fell out of favor. It is a series of erotic love poems and never mentions God, but scholars and religious people studied it as a metaphor for God’s love for humanity, and, hopefully, humanity’s love for God and each other. What if we looked at the world and every person in it with the passionate eyes we use to look at our lover? How different would the world be then?

1.  Say “I love you” to someone very day this week. This will be really hard for me. My mother and father were very private, and rarely said “I love you”, so consequently I never developed the habit. I’m pleased to see that my children have both learned to say it regularly to their spouses. I think they learned it from them.

2.  Do one thing this week to express your love for someone in a physical, tangible way. This is right in my wheelhouse. I always resonated with the duet between Tevya and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. I don’t know whether Big Al understands that when I cook and wash clothes, and try not to nag him, I’m expressing my love for him, but I am. I have always believed that love isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. You can “act love” without feeling it, but if you practice it consistently, it will become a feeling.

3. Take time each day to look at your partner and see God in them. I see God in the way Big Al listens to me, and supports me as I flit around “doing good.” His love is my underpinning, and I rely on it as I rely on God’s love.