This week’s blog is published on Valentine’s Day (14th of February 2020) a day that has become synonymous with romance and love. Florists and restaurants will be at their busiest to cater for what has become part of our modern culture.
While I know many lament and see Valentine’s Day as one of the many ‘Americanisations’ of our culture while others lament at the commercialisation of emotions, you cannot escape the reality that on the 14th of February, every year, we are inundated with messages of romantic love all around us.
There is much mythology surrounding the actual Saint Valentine, if you’ve got a spare few minutes a simple ‘Google’ can reveal some of the stories surrounding him. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed Saint Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the Catholic church still recognises him as a saint, listing him in the February 14th spot.
We do know that a person called Valentine did really exist. Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St. Valentine. In the year 496 Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honour of his martyrdom.
Saint Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. With the threat of Coronavirus and travel bans dominating our headlines at the moment, perhaps we should be placing a little more importance on Valentine’s Day this year given he is the patron saint of plague and travellers!
I do think it is nice that we have a day that focuses on ‘Romantic Love’ each year. On Valentine’s Day Leanne and I will wish each other a happy Valentine’s Day and we will likely have a nice dinner together… at home. I don’t think we will be buying presents, flowers or chocolates (or at least I hope we won’t because I haven’t prepared to buy anything!).
A day of romantic love will be special for some but not so for many others in our community. For lots of different reasons this 14th of February will not feel very romantic for many. But a day celebrating ‘Perfect Love’ is something that I think that everyone should be able to relate to. It just so happens that we have a day like that… every Sunday. Sundays are a day when the Christian Church celebrates perfect love, week in and week out. However, unlike Valentine’s Day, going to church on a Sunday is becoming less culturally popular.
I don’t know any occasion where having even more love is a hinderance rather than a help. As we gather for church this Sunday we will be focusing on the perfect love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ. Around the world countless others will do the same.
I do hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February if that is something that is needed and important to you. But I do hope to see you this and every Sunday this year as we continue to focus on even more love coming from our community of faith. The only way we can do this is through the perfect love of God in Christ Jesus. I am thankful that we don’t have to wait for one day a year to be reminded of this but that we can use every Sunday as a reminder and that we can know each minute of every day that we have access to perfect love.