14th February 2016

This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14.  A popular account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.

 Saint Valentine's Day is an official festival day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on different dates.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards. In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers "as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart", as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine's Malady).

As the commercial world takes hold of such celebrations it is easy to think of love in terms of pink and red hearts, flowers and chocolates. For those of us who are single there can be a sense of ‘missing out’. At the heart of such a day should be the expression of love. As Christians we believe that ‘God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.’ 1 John 4. 16. There are different kinds of love: the Greek language uses four words and C.S Lewis refers to a similar number of different types of love including the love of family, the love of friends, the love that is between lovers and the love that Christians share.

Love in its purest from can be read about in 1. Corinthians 13.  ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’

We do not have to have a special day to show or even speak of it love. We simply need to have the courage and confidence to demonstrate the love that comes from God to all those that we meet.

This week’s challenge: show a different person each day that you love them.

With love in Christ,

 

Jenny

 


2016 Archive
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