Winter is past and spring has arrived. It seems like we have finally turned the corner. All around us birds are singing, trees are blooming, flowers are blossoming and, despite the difficulty of the current situation, there seems to be a quiet optimism in the air.
It has indeed been a long lockdown but the numbers of COVID-19 infections are thankfully going down and we are all hoping to see Stage 4 measures lifted so we can return to more of a normal existence. Spring is indeed a time of hope. It is a time of new life and rejuvenation. The sun beckons us outdoors and, for the one hour we are allowed outside, we feel slightly renewed as our bodies become energised from the sun’s rays and we begin to dream of better times ahead.
I love the biblical image of spring from the Song of Solomon chapter 2 quoted underneath which speaks about the invitation to arise and come away for now the winter is past. The text from the Songs of Solomon has often been interpreted in the Christian tradition as an allegory of the union between humanity and God, who in this text is known as the Beloved; a name which is identical to what Islamic, Sufi mystics a thousand years later used for God. The beloved is described in the Song of Solomon as the one who beckons the lover outside to join in the union of love.
This lyrical and sublime text is, of course, not only about the call of God and the union between God and the human being, it is also purely and simply about the force of romantic, human love. It is about two lovers longing for each other. It is about the power of love experienced between two people.
I think there is much to gain from this text right now. After all, I am sure we all crave human relationships outside our families right now. We long to arise and go outside and stay outside with our extended family and friends. If there is one thing that we have re-learned this year, it surely is that human relationships, be it romantic or simply just friendship or family, are paramount for survival and flourishing. We are made for relationships and we cannot thrive without each other.
With spring’s arrival, let’s now hope that we will soon be let out of our homes so we again can spend time with our friends and extended family.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 2: 10-13
Rev’d Hans Christiansen