“She’s black and beautiful and out of control,” that’s what Professor David Carr said about the woman in the vineyard. I was at a noontime Union Seminary chapel service learning about this passage from Song of Songs — good and juicy.
I sat there thinking my tame life rule, number 4, “Cultivate a Secret Garden” needs to grow wilder. Because we’ve got permission from these popular biblical wedding verses to color outside the lines and let our vineyards grow.
At first, when Professor Carr started talking about the conundrum of the woman, “black but/and beautiful” who was sun-kissed by her work in the fields, my mind wandered.
I squirmed, not wanting to listen to a lecture. I wanted to feel something and in that depth of feeling, be handed more patience for my life, at work and at home. (My husband leaves for India today, for relaxation and relief from his Parkinson’s Disease. God help me, I need patience.)
This service gave me that depth of patience with myself. Because the verses (Song of Songs, 1:6) proclaim power, permission, and meaning in deep, unlawful, passionate, mutual love affairs. (That’s what I heard any way. And I’m sticking to it.)
The Song of Songs sister whose fields grew wild required a love “that cannot be spoken of..an unsanctioned, forbidden love…a mystical, Afro-centric, erotic passion.” Wow! If this is seminary — sexy and permissive — sign me up!
My church-a-day foray definitely heated up this week. Professor Carr quoted the great American poet Audre Lorde to go beyond physical love. “Love — more than sexual love — may be queerest of all.”
Love is not easy.
Audre Lorde had said, “Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. So we are taught to separate the erotic from most vital areas of our lives other than sex.”
In other words, cultivate a garden, then let the roots and fruits grow deep and wild and free. The garden is a gift.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song of Solomon, 1.)
Yes, the bible says all that. I’m going there.