26 Apr For love is strong as death
Tragedy has struck the heart of Toronto and all of us are walking around daily in different stages of grief. For those who have lost family and friends in this horrific nightmare, the burden is greatest. For many of us, this inexplicable act elicits emotions ranging from fear and anger to sadness and confusion. It is hard for most of us to find words to utter in the face of this senseless massacre. Many of us are still reeling from the Humboldt catastrophe and we feel battered and breathless.
As I reflect on the death and injuries of these innocent civilians strolling on the sidewalk enjoying the welcome sunshine of a much-needed spring day, I don’t think I can offer any new or magic words. The world we trusted has been marred and changed by this event. I can only turn to the place I find truth and comfort and share that with you.
“For love is strong as death” is inside a biblical love poem called the Song of Solomon. It may seem strange to think of a passage like this one when juxtaposed with this act of hate but the description of love is so intense that the metaphor here compares the intensity of love to the intensity of death. The writer claims that even floods cannot quench the flames of love – nothing can put out the intensity.
In Jewish tradition, the picture of the love of a man and a woman is an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel. In the Christian tradition, the allegory extends to Messiah and the Church. The words of comfort and hope that I can offer during this time is that I’m convinced the Lord’s love for us is as strong as death. Even when circumstances scream at us to believe the opposite, I’m convinced that the One who always was, always is and always will be does not change in His love for His creation. My hope is that the living would know about this love that is boundless.
Further on in the poem, we are urged not be tempted to trade love for anything, not even prodigious treasure. The only thing that is certain is that love is greater than the greatest good and the greatest evil of the material world.
My words cannot restore what has been taken. Things are not OK. For our fellow citizens of Toronto who are suffering, and for those all over the globe who once again look in the face of senseless death, the Scripture is not embarrassed to say that ‘love is strong as death.’ Scripture stands beside you as you probably face the hardest loss in your life. It does so without false hope asking you to take on a difficult task: to walk through it and get to the other side and receive the Love of God which cannot be quenched or flooded. He weeps with those who weep and mourns with those who mourn and understands the extreme pains of life and death like no other can. This is the hope and truth I can offer you today.