Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Shullamite


The handmaiden pulled the wooden comb somewhat carelessly through the thick curly brown tresses of the dark skinned girl.  She was tired of combing the mop and yanked at the knots and chunks of caked red earth.  The pretty young lady sitting on a stool let her thoughts roam through distant fields of imagination.  She tried to keep her body tight to resist the pull of the annoyed maid combing her hair.  The young lady was just a darkened wisp from Shullam and only a figment of a Biblical authors literary tale.  We find her peering through the pages in the middle of our Bibles in a small book known as Songs of Songs.  The author arranges a poem closely related to the style of a Greek wedding song.  Love lyrics spill over the edges of our pages as we are emotionally stirred into the sensuality, longing, and celebration these two lovers share.  But the story begins with an insignificant young women knee deep in slavery.  “Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me.  My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!” Song of Songs 1:6. 
It was her own brothers that forced her into the heat of the sun.  She is a feminine reflection of Divinity and Dust, yet she has been forced to bear the social status and poverty of a slave.  In her youth and ignorance she was persuaded to work hard in their camps of ingenuity, presuming that her diligence would purchase for her some sort of acceptance, approval and a general sense of accomplishment.  However, to her dismay she had willingly submitted to a life of degrading forced labor whereby she had merely gained the title “One Used, Defiled and Undesirable.” And she feels it.  Degradation.  Less than human.  This is the message in her heart.  The conforming pressures of her outside world suggested to her that she was born for slavery.  And the human mind protests that slavery is not fully human.  So, she is not fully human.   She has been aroused to the dance of oppression and the seductions of intimidation. And, if you have ever been human, you know her thoughts and feelings all to well.  For most of us human beings, the conforming pressures of this world and our ancestral lineage have all suggested that we will never fully be what we are.  And before she can become the vulnerable lover of the song, she must receive a deified young man’s personal opinion.  

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