My initial contact with the award-winning author of my first guest post, Latayne C. Scott, was in January 2014 when I e-mailed her to ask her permission to use a quote from The Shout of the Bridegroom: Understanding Christ’s Intimate Love for the Church, a book she co-wrote with the late Dr. Glenn Greenwood.
Even though she didn’t know me personally, she asked me to let her know when my book was released and offered to help me with some publicity. That blessed my heart!
Over three years later, I e-mailed her again, this time asking her if she would read and consider writing an endorsement for my soon-to-be-released book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.
She blessed my heart again by saying yes and giving my book a glowing endorsement.
She also asked if I would consider reading and endorsing her book, A Conspiracy of Breath, due to release September 1—one week from today.
I was honored that she asked me and gladly said yes. Below is my endorsement of her captivating work:
“Until I savored Latayne C. Scott’s A Conspiracy of Breath, I believed the apostle Paul to be the most likely candidate for authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews. Not anymore. Scott provides a convincing argument through her use of vivid, page-turning imagery that Priscilla, wife of Aquila, could have very well been this enigmatic New Testament book’s inspired recipient. In the future, I will be reading Hebrews through exquisite new lenses!”—Kim K. Francis
And now, without further ado, let’s enjoy award-winning author Latayne C. Scott’s guest post, “Priska’s Betrothal”:
One of the wonderful things about social media is how we can discover deep connections with people we discover there. This was definitely the case when I met Kim! Her book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, struck so many chords with me, since I also wrote a book on that theme.
The symbolism and implications of the way the Bible shows Christ’s passionate love for His bride, the Church, are ideas that people today crave. They feed their souls.
In my newest book, A Conspiracy of Breath, I tried to flesh out, in a fictional way, some of those ancient customs. In one scene, my heroine Priscilla, who is a Roman by birth, enters into her betrothal with Aquila and waits, as all biblical brides did, for him to come by night and abduct her. (How romantic is that?)
Here is the scene where she is waiting along with some Jewish and Roman friends and singing love songs:
The three of them began to sing in the pendulous rhythm of Jewish song, one girl stopping to giggle or the other putting her hand over her mouth as she sang.
Not knowing Hebrew, we Roman women had absolutely no idea what they were singing. We sat politely for a long time, until Tirzah began to pantomime as she sang.
A table for eating …
Something hanging above …
Raisin cakes (which Shiprah produced from yet another basket and ate with gusto) …
“I know!” I shouted. “It’s the Song of Solomon.”
The women nodded, smiling now, but did not stop singing. I began to recite in Greek to Akantha and Cordelia:
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my dearest compared to other men.
I love to sit in its shadow,
and its fruit is sweet to my taste.
He brought me to his banquet hall
and raised the banner of love over me.
Restore my strength with raisins
and refresh me with apples!
I am weak from passion.
His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand caresses me.
Promise me, women of Jerusalem;
swear by the swift deer and the gazelles
that you will not interrupt our love.
They came every night but the Sabbath, and sang the same songs, until our necks jerked us awake again and again and the Jewish women, yawning and stretching, gathered up their baskets and went home in the darkness, carrying their tiny oil lamps out in front of them, in their outstretched palms.
I dreamt each night of gazelles on mountaintops, of turtledoves seeking their mates, of lilies and honey and milk; of furious north winds and spice breezes;
Of ornaments of silver set with studs of gold, of cedar and fir rafters high above my head;
Of eyes at a window, looking through a lattice;
Of green grapes and their perfumes;
Do not stir up nor awaken love, the women sang to me in my dreams, until it pleases…. They murmured of secret places of the cliff, of sealed fountains and enclosed gardens scented with calamus and cinnamon, of little foxes running.
I dreamed melodious dreams of hair black and iridescent as raven wings, of eyes like doves by rivers of water and cheek-banks of scented herbs; of hands like rods of gold set with beryl and legs as marble pillars;
Of the excellence of cedars;
Of the handles of a lock on a door, dripping with myrrh,
His mouth most sweet,
(from A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott, TSU Press, 2017.)
Of course, this isn’t just a first-century love story, because we are all waiting for the Lover of our souls to come and get us. May this help us understand to be spotless as we wait!
She’s also won a national award for humor. Her kids say she’s not so funny, but she just holds up the prize check.
Latayne blogs at Latayne.com.