In the Song of Songs – just as in the opening chapters of the Bible – we encounter a man and a woman in a garden, naked and unashamed. Just as in Eden, God pronounces a blessing on the delightful and fulfilling love of eros. Our human experience of eros is a faint glimpse of God’s passion for us. Only eros can communicate the intensity of divine love.
Had Jesus desired to do so, he could have satisfied his physical thirst. However, Jesus’ desire for water, for relief from his pain, was not as great as his desire to redeem humankind. In other words, Jesus’ thirst for us trumped his thirst for water. “I thirst” is not simply identification with human pain, but an expression of God’s passion for humanity’s redemption.
Faith does not come without a fight. Hope is empty apart from hardships. Love without lament is superficial. We should never imagine that we can have a deep intimate relationship with God without all the doubts, frustrations, and complaints that accompany an authentic relationship – substituting “pious froth” for “fighting the good fight of faith.”
The metaphor of family is applied to the entire life and mission of the faith community. It speaks of a shared commitment, mutual responsibility, and common identity. In our self-absorbed, fragmented culture, we need this metaphor to expand the horizon of our care and compassion. After all, most of us would do anything for our families.
In the midst of the horror and madness of Jesus’ crucifixion, one lone voice of sanity arises from a completely unexpected source: a convicted death-row criminal. Somehow, in a startling turn of events, the last person anyone would expect to speak truth and sanity – a violent criminal, an evil terrorist – witnessed of the truth concerning Jesus.