My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
These words are beautiful to read, but difficult for me to imagine God saying to me. They are so personal, so intimate, and yet I know they are words that God speaks to each one of us. Words we long to hear; words we need to hear even if they may embarrass us with their intimacy.
Our community and our nation have recently experienced the deaths of so many innocent, young victims and we are grieving. Grief can be all consuming and it is hard to see an end to the pain. This scripture offers us hope that the winter of our grief will pass and we will heal so we can go on with life. It gives us a picture that life will someday be beautiful again. In the midst of our grief, the hope of God can be our lifeline during the difficult days ahead. Hope will sustain us during the slow, painful process of healing and someday we will again see beauty in our world.