Return, Return!

Tim Brown

READ : Song of Solomon 6:11-13

Return, return, O Shulammite! Return, return that we may look upon you. (v. 13)

In his lovely commentary on the Song of Solomon pietist Matthew Henry quaintly comments on this verse, “Note: Good Christians, after they have had their comfort disturbed, are sometimes hard to be pacified, and need to be earnestly persuaded to return again to their rest, as revolting sinners have need to be called again and again.” The picture in these verses, seen through a Christ-lens, shows us the way out of our spiritual wilderness wanderings. We must return willingly, immediately to the satisfaction of the one from whom we have fled.

At the outset of the Reformation Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle. The first of them, born of a gospel conviction, is echoed in our passage today, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Few spiritual disciplines are practiced less than repentance. Failing often we must learn how to repent all the more. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about folks like you and me becoming nicer and nicer people, but rather new people. The first step toward new life is responding to God’s overtures of love by turning to him – by repenting.


Give us grace and courage, O God, to repent! Amen.