Two days ago, I preached a sermon at Liberty from Song of Songs, part of a four part series on the Wisdom Literature in the Bible. Two things kept going through my mind as I prepared the sermon: 1) I need to be careful not to open too many cans in this that I'll have to go back and deal with later. With kids in the congregation, older adults who might feel uncomfortable, and visitors, I need to be careful. 2) There are many couples going through marital struggles, divorcing, thinking of divorce - how can I share a word of hope to them in the midst of that?
Interestingly, as I came to the end of the sermon, recent events make a perfect "case-in-point" - LeBron James. Here's what I said toward the end of my sermon:
"On Thursday night, Lebron James just broke up with his basketball bride of 7 years. He announced on national television, that he’s found a new love. He’s going to play for the Miami Heat, alongside two of his friends. Whatever you think of James, or the spectacle that has been his free agency experience, you can see the negative affects of love in the fan and ownership reaction to Lebron’s move. Fans loved him, but now they hate him. Their love was spurned, they got burned, and now they’re angry. If they didn’t love him, they wouldn’t have cared when he left. So, be careful when you love, be careful what, and who you love.
We could appropriate that final admonition in 2:7, like this:
“I charge you, by everything good and holy – be careful in love! Don’t seek it where it doesn’t belong. Don’t force it on another. Don’t use it out of context. It’s like fire, you will get burned, and you will burn others.”
In the end, when it comes to beauty, physical intimacy, eros love, we tend to either be Puritans, ignoring it entirely, or Hedonists, selfishly seeking it out of context. But we see in this Song that neither way is God’s wisdom. The Song of Songs, reminds us that passion and physical intimacy DOES have its place in our human experience and in the Christian life. It belongs in relationship – the covenant of marriage, and requires us to be extremely careful HOW we experience it. If we follow God’s wisdom, instead of being burned in love, our hearts might actually be strangely warmed and properly fulfilled."
I think it was a good sermon, but lives aren't changed by good sermons. Lives are changed by the power of God in the Holy Spirit. Here's hoping some lives are being changed right now, as people are dealing with the pain of "losing" love...