Monday, February 9, 2009

Involving the Senses in Worship

~I John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled (touched NIV), concerning the Word of Life-

~Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

I told Brenda that I did not think of Song of Solomon (SOS) as being a sexual book. I also told her that I don't look upon it as sensual. What I meant was - sensual in a sexual way. But in all honesty, SOS very much involves the senses.

This is not exclusive to SOS. The two verses above also involve the senses. John's words are a witness, a testimony of his very intimate involvement with Jesus Christ Himself. The Psalmist calls upon the worshiper to seek God and experience Him personally. The senses are very important to us in our understanding of the world.

SOS's second and third verses also call upon the senses.

~Song of Solomon 1:2&3 May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you.

This is the maiden, or beloved, speaking here in 2&3, talking about her desire to be kissed by Solomon, a.k.a the lover.
The Hebrew word for kiss means both literally and figuratively to kiss. It also means to touch or fasten up or an attachment. She wants to be touched and she compares the lover's kiss/touch as being better than the taste or effects of wine.

In verse 3 she notes that the bridegroom smells good. Don't let the word oil throw you. They didn't have Bath and Body Works back then. No lotions or after shave. Olive oil was an important staple in the Hebrew home. It was used for lighting, food, and for cosmetic purposes. Oils infused with different fragrances were used. Later on in the song specific smells are brought up and they are highly symbolic, some of them for the purpose of healing. But for now, just know that the presence of the lover is so pleasing that not even the beloved notices, so do other maidens, and they love him.

This is a nice story about two people falling in love. But the deeper symbolism is the worshiper looking with longing toward God, toward Jesus the Bridegroom and desiring to be closer, close enough to reach out and touch Him.
I heard once at a Praise and Worship Seminar that one of the definitions of worship is to turn to face and kiss. And this view is not so hard to imagine when you think that long ago a kiss was a form of worship. I don't know if you have seen historical movies where someone kisses the hand of a lord or a king or high official in the catholic church. But it was not uncommon back then.

So hopefully it is not a hard step to take to meditate on the Christian longing to be closer, to touch, to taste and see that the LORD is good.


Brenda said...

Hi Mara. You've been pretty quiet for awhile. Hope all things are okay with you. Looking forward to reading more from your heart soon. :)

Mara Reid said...

Sorry Brenda.
Didn't mean to make you worry.
I hit a busy streak at home and work.
Plus a friend of mine who has a more controvesial blog went through a bad phase (concerning his blog) two weekends ago and I was feeling for him and posting a bit more on his blog than I usually do.
Thanks for checking in on me though.
I appreciate it.
I may actually have been procrastinating since sometimes I feel like I've bitten off more that I can chew.