26, September 2020

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Today’s Soulfood Readings

Song of Solomon 5–8

He

5:1   I came to my garden, my sister, my bride,
    I gathered my myrrh with my spice,
    I ate my honeycomb with my honey,
    I drank my wine with my milk.

Others

  Eat, friends, drink,
    and be drunk with love!

She

  I slept, but my heart was awake.
  A sound! My beloved is knocking.
  “Open to me, my sister, my love,
    my dove, my perfect one,
  for my head is wet with dew,
    my locks with the drops of the night.”
  I had put off my garment;
    how could I put it on?
  I had bathed my feet;
    how could I soil them?
  My beloved put his hand to the latch,
    and my heart was thrilled within me.
  I arose to open to my beloved,
    and my hands dripped with myrrh,
  my fingers with liquid myrrh,
    on the handles of the bolt.
  I opened to my beloved,
    but my beloved had turned and gone.
  My soul failed me when he spoke.
  I sought him, but found him not;
    I called him, but he gave no answer.
  The watchmen found me
    as they went about in the city;
  they beat me, they bruised me,
    they took away my veil,
    those watchmen of the walls.
  I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
    if you find my beloved,
  that you tell him
    I am sick with love.

Others

  What is your beloved more than another beloved,
    O most beautiful among women?
  What is your beloved more than another beloved,
    that you thus adjure us?

She

10   My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
    distinguished among ten thousand.
11   His head is the finest gold;
    his locks are wavy,
    black as a raven.
12   His eyes are like doves
    beside streams of water,
  bathed in milk,
    sitting beside a full pool.
13   His cheeks are like beds of spices,
    mounds of sweet-smelling herbs.
  His lips are lilies,
    dripping liquid myrrh.
14   His arms are rods of gold,
    set with jewels.
  His body is polished ivory,
    bedecked with sapphires.
15   His legs are alabaster columns,
    set on bases of gold.
  His appearance is like Lebanon,
    choice as the cedars.
16   His mouth is most sweet,
    and he is altogether desirable.
  This is my beloved and this is my friend,
    O daughters of Jerusalem.

Others

6:1   Where has your beloved gone,
    O most beautiful among women?
  Where has your beloved turned,
    that we may seek him with you?

She

  My beloved has gone down to his garden
    to the beds of spices,
  to graze in the gardens
    and to gather lilies.
  I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
    he grazes among the lilies.

He

  You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love,
    lovely as Jerusalem,
    awesome as an army with banners.
  Turn away your eyes from me,
    for they overwhelm me—
  Your hair is like a flock of goats
    leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
  Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
    that have come up from the washing;
  all of them bear twins;
    not one among them has lost its young.
  Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
    behind your veil.
  There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
    and virgins without number.
  My dove, my perfect one, is the only one,
    the only one of her mother,
    pure to her who bore her.
  The young women saw her and called her blessed;
    the queens and concubines also, and they praised her.
10   “Who is this who looks down like the dawn,
    beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun,
    awesome as an army with banners?”

She

11   I went down to the nut orchard
    to look at the blossoms of the valley,
  to see whether the vines had budded,
    whether the pomegranates were in bloom.
12   Before I was aware, my desire set me
    among the chariots of my kinsman, a prince.

Others

13   Return, return, O Shulammite,
    return, return, that we may look upon you.

He

  Why should you look upon the Shulammite,
    as upon a dance before two armies?
  7:1 How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
    O noble daughter!
  Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
    the work of a master hand.
  Your navel is a rounded bowl
    that never lacks mixed wine.
  Your belly is a heap of wheat,
    encircled with lilies.
  Your two breasts are like two fawns,
    twins of a gazelle.
  Your neck is like an ivory tower.
  Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
    by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
  Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
    which looks toward Damascus.
  Your head crowns you like Carmel,
    and your flowing locks are like purple;
    a king is held captive in the tresses.
  How beautiful and pleasant you are,
    O loved one, with all your delights!
  Your stature is like a palm tree,
    and your breasts are like its clusters.
  I say I will climb the palm tree
    and lay hold of its fruit.
  Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
    and the scent of your breath like apples,
  and your mouth like the best wine.

She

  It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
    gliding over lips and teeth.
10   I am my beloved’s,
    and his desire is for me.

11   Come, my beloved,
    let us go out into the fields
    and lodge in the villages;
12   let us go out early to the vineyards
    and see whether the vines have budded,
  whether the grape blossoms have opened
    and the pomegranates are in bloom.
  There I will give you my love.
13   The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
    and beside our doors are all choice fruits,
  new as well as old,
    which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

8:1   Oh that you were like a brother to me
    who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
  If I found you outside, I would kiss you,
    and none would despise me.
  I would lead you and bring you
    into the house of my mother—
    she who used to teach me.
  I would give you spiced wine to drink,
    the juice of my pomegranate.
  His left hand is under my head,
    and his right hand embraces me!
  I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
    that you not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases.
  Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
    leaning on her beloved?
  Under the apple tree I awakened you.
  There your mother was in labor with you;
    there she who bore you was in labor.
  Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm,
  for love is strong as death,
    jealousy is fierce as the grave.
  Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    the very flame of the LORD.
  Many waters cannot quench love,
    neither can floods drown it.
  If a man offered for love
    all the wealth of his house,
    he would be utterly despised.

Others

  We have a little sister,
    and she has no breasts.
  What shall we do for our sister
    on the day when she is spoken for?
  If she is a wall,
    we will build on her a battlement of silver,
  but if she is a door,
    we will enclose her with boards of cedar.

She

10   I was a wall,
    and my breasts were like towers;
  then I was in his eyes
    as one who finds peace.
11   Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
    he let out the vineyard to keepers;
    each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.
12   My vineyard, my very own, is before me;
    you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,
    and the keepers of the fruit two hundred.

He

13   O you who dwell in the gardens,
    with companions listening for your voice;
    let me hear it.

She

14   Make haste, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
  or a young stag
    on the mountains of spices.

Luke 23:39–49

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

Psalm 91

91:1   He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
  He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
  You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
  nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
  A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
  You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
  Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10   no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.
11   For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12   On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13   You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14   “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15   When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16   With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Proverbs 21:28–31

28   A false witness will perish,
    but the word of a man who hears will endure.
29   A wicked man puts on a bold face,
    but the upright gives thought to his ways.
30   No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel
    can avail against the LORD.
31   The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the LORD.

26, September 2020

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