Well, whatever we feel about the cards and encouragements to buy flowers and chocolates, today is St Valentine’s Day!
I did a bit of research on St Valentine and found very few definitive answers as to who he really was.
Some say that he was a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians in the reign of Claudius II and then was beheaded on 14 February. Others say that he was a Catholic Bishop of Temi in the same period. Others that say that he secretly married couples when marriage was forbidden and that he wrote letters to his jailer’s daughter.
Apparently, no record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote around 1375 (‘Parliament of Foules’). The poem refers to 14 February as the day when birds come together to find a mate.
Love is expressed in all sorts of ways. As a Tearfund supporter I’ve been praying this past week about … toilets! These are something that we so take for granted. Tearfund in its desire to show God’s love in all aspects of people’s lives has been providing these, together with clean water and hygiene education in some of the poorest nations. Sadly, there are still 2.5 billion people who don’t yet have one.
The supreme example of love is expressed through God’s love for us in sending a Saviour to this earth, Jesus Christ.
We remember that Lent began last Wednesday and is a time when we recall Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. He showed his love for God in obedience and commitment that ultimately led to offering his life for us on the cross. Jesus said this: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
Traditionally, Lent has been a time when we give up chocolates or biscuits or alcohol but how about instead, using this time as a ‘giving to’? Perhaps we could donate money that we might have spent on all those things to a Christian charity, allowing us the opportunity to show God’s love to the underprivileged. Maybe, also, we could spend time in coming closer to God by listening to his voice and by reading his word.
Ultimately, let’s use these days of Lent to tell God how much we love him … and maybe it’ll become a life-long habit.
With love, Anne Lovegrove