Today, Valentine’s Day, is the feast day of Saint Valentine. As with most early Christian saints, there is some controversy around who exactly Saint Valentine was. While we may never know the exact historical facts, several legends emerge that have been passed down through the centuries and have made him a significant figure in both religious and secular calendars.
Like the apostle Paul, but to a lesser extent, Saint Valentine is famous for writing letters. One letter in particular stands out. Valentine had been asked to help heal and later educate the blind daughter of a jailer. The young girl and the saint became friends. So when Saint Valentine was later arrested, he wrote the girl letters from jail. Again, like the apostle Paul, Saint Valentine wrote out words of encouragement to another when he could not physically be there for her.
How Saint Valentine’s feast day became intertwined with romantic love, cards, flowers, and candy is more about modern marketing than theology. But perhaps now is the time to break out of this narrow definition of love that amplifies the loneliness many single people feel and the pressure put on couples to meet unrealistic expectations of romantic love.
The ancient Greeks had many different words for the awkward, all-encompassing English word love. We can make this feast day about more than just buying gifts for our significant others (or fretting about not having one).
Consider writing a letter of love and support to someone whom you wish to comfort through a difficult period even though you cannot be with her or him in person.
Source of Expansive Love, guide us deep into your heart of compassion and care for those who are lonely, those who feel rejected, and those who stand at the edges of life. Allow your love to flow through me to meet them in their place of need. Amen.
This week we continue to explore the importance of Christian morality. We do not earn God’s grace by our actions; rather, our obedience is a response to God’s grace. In Deuteronomy, we read that the choice of life will bring prosperity and is the proper response from a heart of gratitude. The psalmist echoes this sentiment, for blessed are those who follow the Lord not just with words but also with actions. The Corinthians have not understood this so they continue to act like those in the world around them, living by the flesh instead of by the Spirit. Jesus pushes us even further. God sees not only what we do on the outside but who we are on the inside. A true life of obedience begins on the inside and flows outward.
Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20. When have you experienced the choice God sets before us of life or death, prosperity or adversity, blessings or curses? How have you discerned how to obey God?
Read Psalm 119:1-8. How does following God’s commandments bring you joy?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. Consider the forms of love Paul and Saint Valentine display in their letters. What types of love help you serve God, who gives growth?
Read Matthew 5:21-37. When have you experienced legalistic interpretations of scripture? How do you get to the heart of scripture?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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