One of the many songs I’ve carried with me from my gloriously evangelical childhood is “His Banner Over Me Is Love.” (If you’re not familiar with this song, of which there are many variations on the simple verses, here’s one cheesy rendition you can listen to on YouTube. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though, if you end up humming this for the next few hours.)
The verse that has stuck with me the most is the one based on Song of Solomon 2:4, maybe because I never really understood it as a kid. The version I was taught went something like this–
He leads me to his banqueting table... his banner over me is love. He leads me to his banqueting table... his banner over me is love. He leads me to his banqueting table... his banner over me is love. His bann-er over me-e, is lo-ove.
Of course I’m a fan of the refrain throughout the song–his banner over me is love. I can hardly sing it, especially the melody of the final line, without bobbing my head to the side. “Banner” is one of those KJV throwbacks, like “Yea though I walk…” in Psalm 23, that gives me warm fuzzies.
But today I’ve been thinking about that first clause–what is up with “the banqueting table”?
I clearly remember singing this song with other large groups of children, doing the hand motions and everything, but not really getting why a banqueting table was such a big deal. Food was not a scarcity in our house, to say the least, as can be deciphered by the fact that I outweighed my older brother by thirty pounds by the time I was in preschool.
So here’s the question I’m thinking about–
Banqueting tables = What the heck?
(Well, I did warn you in the title that there would be more than one “part” to this post.)