My colleagues and I get together once a week for coffee at a local bistro. We share stories and pastoral concerns. After many years of ministry together, we were surprised to hear that the oldest member of our group had been adopted when she was only six months old. I asked her if she had ever thought about who her real parents were. Her answer has resounded many times in my mind: “That day my parents had the opportunity to pick out any one of the babies that they had before them. They chose me. They are my real parents.”
Song of Solomon is a collection of love poems. Today’s reading describes a mysterious passion that draws two people together. It reminds me of my baptism and suggests the mystery of God’s great love for creation and our response. God’s love and Christ’s passion bind us together in one spirit. At baptism, God chose to seal me with the cross of salvation. God adopted me as a beloved child for everlasting life and gave me the faith that declares that Christ is my bridegroom and the Eucharist is our marriage feast. God speaks to me from the cross, from the garden—an insistent lover. I serve God with joy and thanksgiving.
I came across a faded black-and-white picture recently of my cheerleading days in high school. Those days came back in a ash. Everything seemed so simple then. We easily forget the obstacles, concerns, needs, and spur-of-the-moment situations that blur our ability to remember. One fact to remember: God chose you. Jesus sealed you with the cross on Calvary. When all has faded, and life has lost its color, our loving and faithful God will continue to lead the way with passion and love beyond our understanding.
Loving Lord, united in one spirit we ask you to shed your everlasting love upon your people as we strive to serve you with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.
The Genesis text tells of Abraham’s quest to find a bride for Isaac from among his own people. In opting for Isaac, Rebekah makes herself the instrument for the preservation of the promise; God’s intentions are sure. A hymn honoring the marriage commitment is a good pairing with Genesis, since the Song of Solomon addresses the sweetness of love. Romans 7 depicts a battle of human life. Here the strong desire to do good and serve God rightly is threatened by the enemy of sin. Jesus’ prayer in Matthew recalls that knowledge of sin’s defeat often comes to those “infants” to whom God has granted revelation.
• Read Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67. How difficult is it for you to trust that God will act for your good, even if you nd yourself waiting?
• Read Song of Solomon 2:8-13. Whose voice have you known as beloved? How did it waken you to creation’s beauty?
• Read Romans 7:15-25a. How might you let God’s understanding love make a change in your actions?
• Read Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. Jesus offers rest for our souls. How do you tap into that wonderful offer?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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