Lectionary Reflection for the Fourteen Sunday after Pentecost

Cover ArtThis excerpt comes from Song of Songs (BTCB) by Paul J. Griffiths, commenting on Song of Songs 2:8-13:

If the lover is the Lord and his beloved his Israel-church, then there are rich possibilities for thinking about additional meanings for these phrases.

The Lord’s partial or full invisibility to us is one: he is there and can see us, but we cannot see him.

The Lord may seem to choose to conceal himself from us: he “stands behind our wall” (a word that occurs only here in the Song). But this is a barrier we have erected, and its presence here may suggest that it is our actions rather than the Lord’s that separate us from him.

We have enclosed ourselves by sin in a place in which the Lord’s voice  can be heard, yes, but where he cannot be seen. There are, however, openings even in this wall, openings that let in the Lord’s light. Through those openings he approaches more closely to us, and through them he speaks to us.

On this reading, scripture itself, and especially the words of the Song under discussion, serve as just such openings: in reading or hearing the Song we are looked at by the Lord as our lover through the windows and latticework of scripture.

A conceit, it may seem, but a nice one. The Song here performs what it figures: an opening to the “voice”—and proleptically the vision and the touch—of the Lord.

 

©2011 by Paul J. Griffiths. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from Song of Songs (BTCB) by Paul J. Griffiths, commenting on Song of Songs 2:8-13:

If the lover is the Lord and his beloved his Israel-church, then there are rich possibilities for thinking about additional meanings for these phrases.

The Lord’s partial or full invisibility to us is one: he is there and can see us, but we cannot see him.

The Lord may seem to choose to conceal himself from us: he “stands behind our wall” (a word that occurs only here in the Song). But this is a barrier we have erected, and its presence here may suggest that it is our actions rather than the Lord’s that separate us from him.

We have enclosed ourselves by sin in a place in which the Lord’s voice  can be heard, yes, but where he cannot be seen. There are, however, openings even in this wall, openings that let in the Lord’s light. Through those openings he approaches more closely to us, and through them he speaks to us.

On this reading, scripture itself, and especially the words of the Song under discussion, serve as just such openings: in reading or hearing the Song we are looked at by the Lord as our lover through the windows and latticework of scripture.

A conceit, it may seem, but a nice one. The Song here performs what it figures: an opening to the “voice”—and proleptically the vision and the touch—of the Lord.

 

©2011 by Paul J. Griffiths. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: July 6, 2012

Song of Songs by Paul J. Griffiths was reviewed in the June/July issue of First Things.

You must be a subscriber to read the entire review, but here is an excerpt:

“Paul Griffiths . . . intends his commentary to be read by Christian laymen and laywomen today, in an age when the sacramental nature of marriage urgently needs rediscovery and reaffirmation. The high rate of divorce and of partnering without vowed commitment, the powerful political and cultural forces urging the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, the general use of contraceptives by lovers, and the epidemic addiction to pornography require a new ‘figural’ reading of the Song of Songs that offers a model for reordering our human loves. And this is precisely what Griffiths offers.”

 

Quick Hits:

Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was reviewed by Keith Watkins.

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was recommended by Rachel Held Evans in her post “My Top 6 Books of 2012 So Far.”

Jesus and Money by Ben Witherington III was reviewed on Mark Heath’s blog.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on Justin Boulmay’s blog.

Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner was reviewed on Mary Lou’s Reviews.

 

Ebook Specials:

Don’t forget that July ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these ebooks are at least 50% off (and, in most cases, 70% or more):

A Cross-Shattered Church by Stanley Hauerwas
Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Cary
Testing Scripture by John Polkinghorne
Power Failure by Albert Borgmann
Is the Reformation Over? by Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom
Transforming Conversion by Gordon T. Smith

You can read more regarding the special ebook sale prices at www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials.

Giveaway! Paul Griffiths’s Song of Songs Commentary

Tomorrow we will be launching a new feature on The Brazos Blog – “A Theological Reflection on the Lectionary.”

In order to celebrate, we are giving away a copy of Paul J. Griffiths’s commentary of Song of Songs in the Brazos Theological Commentaries on the Bible series.

To enter, fill out the form below. A winner will be announced on Friday, October 14th.

The giveaway has ended.