It is February, a month dreaded by singles, celebrated by couples and turned into art projects with lots of red construction paper by teachers everywhere. February brings Valentine’s Day. Although the Roman Catholic Church no longer lists Valentine among the saints whose days are celebrated with special services, there’s a long list of legends associated with the third century Roman priest. One of my favorites records his defiance of the law when he continued to perform weddings for Catholic couples, a crime under the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II. Another legend tells of how he prayed for and healed the daughter of his jailer. Some say he left the girl a note on the day he was martyred signed “your Valentine,” which became the precursor of our Valentine’s Day cards. Valentine was a man of conviction and compassion, virtues that would go well with our modern celebrations of his feast day.
February also brings the beginning of the season of Lent, the season of the church year where we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter. It is fitting that Lent begins in February. Our cultural celebrations of love can remind us that Easter, too, is about love. As the first letter of John proclaims:
9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
Our Sunday scripture readings during this Lenten season will encourage us to take a closer look at God’s love for us. We will see anew that God’s love is multi-faceted, unconditional, and more faithful than any human love could possibly be. Come join us for worship as we consider together what it means that God loves us, and how we might extend that same love to one another.
With prayers of thanks,