Black as a Raven, White as Snow

The old Wesleyan Chapel in Whitby is now a museum, naturally. It is dedicated to that local mineral, jet, from which all manner of jewellery is made. It is entirely black, yet comely and beautiful. In Song of Solomon 5:10-12, we are given a description of Solomon by his lover:

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

We have here an idealised view of an ancient man. Whereas we prefer our attractive folk to have tanned skin, this one’s is white, for not having had to labour in the sun. His face, though, is golden, and his hair is black as jet. I found my first grey hair at the age of 27, and remark each time I return from the barbers how many more keep appearing. If grey hairs bespeak wisdom, I am over one third wise. Yet the beloved’s locks are black, not for want of wisdom but want of aging. I turn grey not because I am sagacious, but because I am approaching my grave; the One to whom Solomon pointed, or ought to have pointed, was the timeless, ageless, changeless One. Christ could say ‘Before Abraham was, I am’, describing His ancient and eternal pedigree, while being forever youthful, dynamic and energetic. I am unlikely to start applying the Grecian 2000; my head is simply reminding me of my final appointment. Yet I can look up to Him who is eternal and everlasting, whose dark, luxurious hair is young and fresh.

In Revelation 1:14, however, we read:

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

Christ might be eternally youthful and regenerating, but He is also brilliantly pure and overwhelmingly righteous. I delight to confess:

I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 7:10