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Loving our Lover

by davesandel on July 22nd, 2021

Thursday, July 22, 2021                                 (today’s lectionary)

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Loving our Lover

The Bride says: “On my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves, but I did not find him.

Our friend Clarence Heller wrote of this, and of its resolution:

Familiar Bedfellows

I went to bed with God

and in early morning hours

my wife showed up,

naked, cozy, alluring the cuddle,

and half-dreaming,

half in the sanctuary of safety and possibility.

I savored the moment,

welcomed them with gratitude,

and prayed love upon her.

My soul sang as she slept

only half-aware of our nestling in God.


I went to supper with my wife

and God showed up,

not just in the thirty-second ritual prayer,

but more deeply and warmly in her compassion

and loving care for our children,

and in God’s desire for her

to experience a larger taste of God’s presence,

and in God’s desire for her

continued healing and greater freedom and joy,

and we all laughed with dessert.

No one is quite sure whether Solomon intended to write his “song” as an allegory or as a poem-letter to a human lover. Clarence put the two together: “I went to bed with God … I went to supper with my wife” and, it turns out that the two moments echo each other and sing the same song.

I looked all around the city in the streets and crossings for Him whom my heart loves. I asked the watchmen as they made their rounds: “Have you seen him whom my heart loves?” And I had hardly left them, when I FOUND HIM! whom my heart loves.

When I sit with Margaret and we cuddle, when I talk with God and we commune, these are experiences together that mutually fill me and fulfill me.

In Jesus Christ Superstar, Mary Magdalene sings “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” How much like this is the way we love our friend and spouse? When he says he loves me, he scares me so, I want him so, I love him so. One of the best Easter tingling moments is imagining myself as Mary Magdalene, discovering the empty tomb, running to tell the disciples, but most of all seeing Jesus in his glorious new body for the first time.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener, but Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

In a Smithsonian article, James Carroll details some of Magdalene’s “reinventions, from prostitute to sibyl to mystic to celibate nun to passive helpmeet to feminist icon to the matriarch of divinity’s secret dynasty …”

Tell us, Mary, what did you see along the way? “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away and behold, new things have come.”

My friend John’s wife Jane died several years ago. They were lovers all through their married years. Now when he prays, fervently and daily, he prays “in the name of Jane and Jesus …” Amen. They are familiar bedfellows now and forever. This is a gift for Margaret and me as well, and for Pam and Gary, for Andi and Aki, for Chris and Melissa, for Ken and Tricia, for Don and Pat, for Casey and Michelle, for Shannon and Susan … for all of us who give ourselves in Jesus’ name to another.

My soul thirsts for you, O Lord my God. O God you are my God whom I seek. Your kindness is a greater good than life, and my lips shall glorify you.

 O kiss me, my darling, let us be glorified and together swoon into the waiting arms of God.

(Song of Songs 3, Psalm 63, John 20)

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