Such a weird word.
I’m neck deep into this Lenten photo/blog-a-day challenge and the end is in sight. Today’s word: beloved.
It’s such a weird word! How many times do you ever use it in daily life? How many times does it even come up in Scripture?!? Who put cheese in my pants?
Answer to question 1: ZERO!
Answer to question two: 29 times–and all but two of them are in Song of Songs (a.k.a. Song of Solomon).
Do you know what the book Song of Songs is about? Tradition teaches that Solomon wrote it as a description of the king (most likely him) chasing some tail.
Hey, sorry to be crude, but it is written by the guy who had 700 wives and 300 concubines. I’m sure his views on honoring women weren’t always up to snuff. If wife #339 told him that a headache was going to ruin his plans, he could always go next door. The odds were pretty great that someone was in a good mood.
The plot twist with Solomon writing the story is that he falls madly in love with the girl he’s chasing. It’s really a beautiful love story, albeit with some gnarly ways of complimenting a woman’s beauty (and the whole polygamy thing). He gets the girl in the end, and they even seem to wait for actual nuptials before they start playing cards*.
Some good stuff is in Song of Songs, actually. The Church has also taught that it’s an allegory of Christ’s love for The Church. I don’t totally buy into that take on it, because it’s weird to think of Jesus using “Your Body is a Wonderland” type of poetry to describe us–especially guys.
Back to this word, “beloved.”
Something that I do buy into is that The Church is truly The Bride of Christ. Even though we come across as The Bride of Frankenstein to so many people, the way God looks at us is how a groom looks at his betrothed. A groom can refer to his betrothed as his beloved.
Beloved. Again, with the weird word! Yet this word is exactly what we are to Christ. Scripture’s chock full of bride and groom imagery. Whether it’s weird to you or not, get used to it. It’s just how it is. The more you get used to it, the more it captures your heart. Check out my favorite verses with this imagery below.
Isaiah 49:18 – Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.
Isaiah 61:10 – I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 62:5 – As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Revelation 19:7 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 21:2 – I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Revelation 21:9 – One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
Some guys feel like it’s weird to be considered a bride. Fair enough, right?!? If you feel that way, think about how you view your spouse. Amplify those pure feelings of love and desire to sacrifice for that person by 1,000%. Or, rather, amplify those to an infinite amount we cannot imagine. That’s God’s love for us.
Still having trouble viewing yourself as the beloved of Jesus? Do this, then. Change the way you pronounce the word. Say it “be-loved,” pronounced like “I loved my dog.”
BEloved is a better take on this weird word, anyway. BE loved.
Be loved. After all, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t have to travel the road to The Cross; Jesus went so willingly.
We are loved, so be loved.
*As a student ministry dude, sometimes I like to use this phrase to refer to “relations.” It’s become a great inside joke among students when we need to refer to that concept for whatever reason.
Also, I don’t have cheese in my pants.