By Steve Doughty
People waiting for the plane to arrive weren’t that crowded, so there was no need for the two of them to press together the way they were doing. The terminal was warm, so he did not have to hold her hand that firmly. Or was she more holding his? This was difficult to figure. The clasped hands regularly disappeared in the narrow crack between their bodies. Then, still clasped, the hands would shoot around behind her back or his.
And there was what she did with her free hand. She lifted it, this ancient, bone thin comb of a hand, and raked it slowly across his chest. For how many decades had that been going on?
They didn’t need to laugh out loud the way they did. Everybody else talked quietly, or read, or stared into space.
Why did the eyes of these two keep lighting up? The plane had not landed. Much less were passengers streaming out the door behind the ticket counter. Their eyes, however, never glanced at the flight board or the door.
I did not speak to them.
I never came upon the two again.
Nearly fifty years have passed.
I still see the tug of war between their hands, the closeness of their bodies, the smiles that would not quit.
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In the second century CE, Gnosticism sundered matter and spirit. It held that matter was evil, created by an inferior God. The high God of Jesus had nothing to do with matter. Salvation came through mystical knowledge by which people entered into communion with the world of the spirit. Gnosticism denied Jesus’ humanity and rejected the reality of his death. Both were an illusion. Gnosticism turned its back on the incarnation. It considered our fleshy substance to be of no value whatsoever.
The early church declared Gnosticism a heresy.
* * *
Of all the books in the Bible, the Song of Songs most revels in the flesh. The Song’s primary singers are two lovers. They ardently pour forth love for one another. They delight in one another’s bodies. Their words are all breast and loin, thigh and mouth.