The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
Song of Solomon 3:1-5
The One Whom My Soul Loves
Saturday of Trinity III, 12 July 2014
Wedding of Mark Bradley Strauch and Keshia Lynn Kjorstad
Meadowlark Ski Resort
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
“I have found the one my soul loves.” That’s part of what the two of you are declaring today, Mark and Keshia. It is amazing where a Mad Gab game night can lead two people.
For your sermon text on your special day, I have chosen a portion of Song of Solomon, Chapter 3, verses 1-5. This is the text of The Bride’s Dream. She says: 3 On my bed by night sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not.
At first hearing, it sounds like the frustration we all may have felt searching for the one we would one day marry. That’s not what this text is about. This is a memory from the days when they were dating. She already knows him. They’re “together,” we would say. And he just won’t answer his phone, email, or the texts she’s been sending him. So, she starts actively looking for him: 2 I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not.
Round two also ends in frustration. The city guards make an appearance in her search for Solomon: 3 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go…
Do you know the feeling? Just after you ask for help in finding the thing or the person you can’t find, you find it almost right away by yourself.
Do you know the other feeling? Based on our experiences, we can also identify with this woman’s care and concern and deep feeling of love. It’s a new love, fresh and strong and passionate. She was active in her search. Her love story predates the unfortunate “unrequited love” tradition of Western Civilization where somebody pines for somebody else for a distance, never or rarely saying a word to the other person. How is that love? There is no action for the benefit of the other person. It’s just selfish, unfulfilled emotion.
Please notice the most important thing about her search: she went out and did something to show her love for her man. Holy Scripture uses the word love in a very active sense. Yes, it is an emotion, yet is always in action, just like faith in Christ.
A couple in love, married in the eyes of the Lord and of Caesar needs more than their feelings for one another for their relationship to survive. They need a marriage. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in a wedding sermon, “It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on the marriage that sustains your love.” That is why holy matrimony, the lifelong union of one man and one woman wed only to each other, is still a viable institution in 21st Century America. A marriage is built on commitment love.
Commitment love is what gets couples through the tough times. After all, forgiving each other will make your life together a lot more bearable, and a lot more enjoyable. You need to be regularly reminded of Christ’s love for you and shown His love. That is why being united in attending the Sunday Divine Service, actively engaging in Bible study together, and being committed to family devotions are all so important.
Let’s return to the bride remembering her courtship in anticipation of her wedding day: “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
The families of both the bride and groom (TLSB) both “play a supportive role in their marriage (cf 3:6–11; 8:1–2, 5).” And you are given to be blessings to one another. Verse five concludes our text: .5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
Thanks be to God the time of waiting is over! You are given to delight in one another. That is why you and your family and friends will hear “You may kiss the bride” at the end of this service.
Verse five puts people under a vow, an oath. In holy matrimony, a husband and wife promise to actively love one another in all aspects of life. They are true partners, helpmeets, with roles that complement one another.
All of this happens before Solomon says a word in chapter three, a flashback to their time of courtship, a (TSLB) “longing for their wedding and its consummation. The Church father Bede compared the searching of the Shulammite [woman, Solomon’s bride,] with Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb while it was still dark, searching for the Christ (Jn 20:1, 11–18)”. So too with us.
Marriage is a model of the Christian life. (TLSB) “God’s people are to live in faith according to His love and will. We spurn that love and will when we disregard the order that pleases God.”
When you find the one your soul loves, you never want to let her go. Right, Mark? That phrase is an expression of deep communion, intimate fellowship, lifelong dedication.
And that is what Christ has given to you. You love one another because He loved you first. Mark, you will be a good example to your wife as a Christian, a Christian man, Christian husband, and Christian head of household. Keshia, you truly hunger and thirst for God’s truth and righteousness. I very much look forward to your Baptism day and welcoming you both to your Church home together.
You have each found the one whom your soul loves. You have found that in one another in this life, till death you do part.
More importantly, You have found Him whom your soul loves for time and eternity. To be more precise, He has found you, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the heavenly Bridegroom of His Bride the Holy Christian Church, of which you both are part. His love for you, like His holy Word, is living and active. He was born for you, lived for you, taught, preached, and healed for you, was crucified, died, and was raised for your and your salvation, forgiveness and life now, and to dwell with Him forever in the mansions of heaven.
Never let one another go. And never let go of Christ, for He loves you. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.