Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chapter 1, “The Pastoral Work of Prayer-Directing: Song of Songs”

Peterson, Eugene. Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980 Kindle Edition.

Chapter 1, “The Pastoral Work of Prayer-Directing: Song of Songs” (Loc. 233-682)

Peterson discusses the interaction of sexuality and prayer, both of which have a great deal to do with how we manage intimacy. “Much of pastoral work has to do with nurturing intimacy, that is, developing relationships in which love is successfully expressed and received - shared” (Loc. 239). All relationships can be seen with both horizontal (person to person) and vertical (person to God) dynamics. All our lives are dynamics of the earthly and the heavenly.

Beginning at Loc. 264 Peterson discusses salvation as the rescue of God from slavery to sin and evil. By this rescue, God puts people into their relationships, both with him and one another.  Passover was the time that Israel celebrated their salvation (Loc. 281). At Passover the Song of Songs is traditionally read. Peterson suggests this is to remind Israel of the personal intimacy of their salvation (Loc. 290).

At Loc. 330 Peterson explores Adam and the Fall as a model for our failure to live in covenant with God, a condition usually referred to as adultery or other unfaithfulness. Song of Songs (Loc. 340) is special in that it portrays the positive union rather than looking in negative terms. The connection finally is that of a covenant (Loc. 410) in which God’s love is the truest love there is.

This covenantal view of love reaches into the deepest interior relationships which we can have. Peterson extrapolates that this covenantal knowing is related to the frequent naming of God and His people. In Loc. 469 he applies this to pastoral work, indicating that knowing the people by name is one of the most important things a pastor does.

Peterson concludes the chapter by walking through the Song and applying the different situations to our longing, desires, and responses to hurts.

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