A Biblical kind of love

Saturday, February 11, 2006

When he's speaking with children's groups, the Rev. Scott Moon often refers to the Bible as a collection of love stories.

"It's basically the story of God's love for people," said Moon, pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau.

But there are other great loves in the Bible as well, complete with similar ups and downs to those faced in modern relationships.

"Some of the stories read like 'Dallas' or a soap opera," said Moon. "Song of Solomon is almost a twitterpated love. It's idealized descriptions that really is romantic love, though lots of times people spiritualize that and say it represents God and the church. But first and foremost, it clebrates love between two people, in this case a woman and a man."

Here's a look at a few of the Bible's love stories and why they're important to local church representatives.

Adam and Eve

Despite the well-known fruit controversy, the story of Adam and Eve is still worthwhile when it comes to love, said Moon.

"All of us are summed up by Adam and Eve I think," he said.

Moon says the situation of the Bible's first couple shows that romantic relationships are meant to be lived and celebrated.

Ruth and Boaz

The story of Ruth, who follows her mother-in-law Naomi from her homeland of Moab to Judah, focuses on the hardships the two women face. Ruth goes gleaning in a grain field to find food. There, she meets Boaz, who owns the field and eventually marries her.

First Baptist Church of Jackson receptionist Karen Johnson was so touched by the story of Ruth that she used excerpts from it in her own wedding.

"You can tell they love each other. Ruth was willing to leave her homeland and then found the love of her life," said Johnson.

Jacob and Rachel

In the book of Genesis, Jacob meets Rachel while fleeing for his life from Beersheba.The story stood out in Moon's mind because Jacob is willing to work seven years to win Rachel's hand. In the end, he is tricked into first marrying her sister Leah, then must work seven more years to marry Rachel, said Moon.

"Jacob -- this guy who himself is a trickster -- through love for both his wives gets transformed," said Moon. "This story shows that love is good, it transforms those people who are being loved and are loving."

Hosea and Gomer

In the book Hosea, God instructs the prophet to marry a prostitute.

"This whole book is about anguishing over a relationshup with a beloved," said Moon. "Like God anguishing over his relationship with Israel. Hosea saves this woman of the street by marrying her, but she keeps running around. But he still loves her. It's an amazing story of loving someone who doesn't appropriately love you back."

God and the church

St. Andrew Lutheran Church associate pastor Mark Martin said the love story that stands out in his mind is God's love affair with Israel, "and by extension, God's love affair with us."

"God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt by his action, took them to the Holy Land, and all they did was disobey. All they did was ignore him," said Martin. "But his love was continually faithful. He just kept loving them, and then eventually sent his son to die for all of us."

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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