Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sex and Questions about Life, all in a days Bible reading

Through the Bible in 90 Days: 48

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1-Song of Songs 8:14

Verse that stood out:
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few - Ecclesiastes 5:2

Today’s reading left me at first depressed and then embarrassed. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the Teacher looks over the far reaches of human existence and declares, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Then a book later, the writer of the Song of Songs pens lyrics that would rival anything in the erotica section of the local bookstore. I made the mistake of doing today’s reading in a coffee shop from my laptop. My red cheeks probably made it seem to others as if I looking at something inappropriate on the web. Nope, only reading the Bible.

These two books have often been considered inappropriate by different church leaders. Certain rabbis forbid anyone under the age of thirty from reading from the Song of Songs. The two major schools of Jewish Rabbis argued over whether or not Ecclesiastes should even be included in the canon. And yet, there they both are, right in the Bible next to Moses and Paul and Jesus, himself.

Despite my embarrassment, I’m glad these books are in there. They remind us that two things the church has often looked down upon are actually sanctioned by God – sex and thinking. Ecclesiastes asks some fairly profound questions and wonders aloud about the meaning of life in a way that resists easy answers. Song of Songs reminds us that the Creator’s declaration of the goodness of creation clearly applies to sex as well. When we belittle either one of these two activities, we do so against the Scriptures.

No comments: