In worship this past Sunday, we heard two passages of love poetry from the Song of Solomon. As I read the first lesson, with a depiction of the Beautiful Woman whose hair was compared to a flock of goats, I could hear laughter rising from the choir loft. Such texts remind us that poetry is not intended to be received literally. To do so is to court the absurd. And yet, what if we were to receive these passages literally?
In 1970, Den Hart published a literal image of the Beautiful Woman which you may find below. To our delight, he has courted the absurd by sketching a woman like no other. He has also caused us to pause and remember that scripture is written in a variety of genres. Therefore, we are wise to consider the context of the passage before seeking to make meaning of it.
Today, we give thanks for the gift of love, for the whimsy of poetic verse, and for scriptures that speak to every part of the human experience. May beauty forever be in the eye of the beholder.
Peace and best wishes,