It’s Valentine’s Day, which originally began in the church, of all places, as a feast for the saint Valentinus. The story goes that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for those who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to followers of Christ who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. As the story goes, he was put to death around February 14.
We mostly celebrate today with flowers
chocolates, and cards. It’s become a big day for the Hallmark company. We would be remiss not to remember what we celebrate on this day and the responsibility given to us.
Valentinus had the courage to defy orders from the Roman Emperor in the name of love. Anyone who has known love knows that there is risk involved. We become vulnerable when we love another and when we allow another to love us.
The Apostle Paul tried to capture love’s essence is his letter to the church at Corinth when he wrote that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is a real, flesh and bone kind of love that cannot be captured by a Hallmark card or experienced during a Lifetime movie. This is the kind of love that originates from the way God first loved us. Jesus understood this as agape love. Agape love is the universal, unconditional love that God has for all of creation. As a child of God, we are called to embody this unconditional love towards others. This is a love that can take all that is broken in this world and make it into something that is whole and good. That is the power of love.
What is the best way to celebrate one who so boldly risked and eventually gave up his life for the power of love? Perhaps it is to live each day empowered to love boldly and fearlessly.
Grace and peace,