Today we celebrate St Valentine who was martyred in Rome about the year 269AD. At that time there was a persecution of Christians under the reign of the Emperor Claudius. Valentine’s association with expressions of love to those special to you isn’t really known. In Medieval times it was thought that on this day birds began to mate but there are other ideas.
Today it is associated with the sending of cards to someone you would like to express your love to. However, as there is a custom that this is sent anonymously, it rather defeats the object! It is also one of those festivals when purveyors of love signs – flowers, chocolates, cards etc – encourage us to express our love in some tangible way. Obligingly those who supply these needs increase the cost of purchase, just to prove that you really mean it!
The One who truly expresses His deep love for us is God, though as ever, he pays the price Himself.
God is busily renewing our world at this time and all around us are signs of His love in the joy of creation beginning to show itself in the bursting forth of new life. Valentine’s day can therefore be a day when we give thanks to God for creating us, loving us and sustaining us.
There is much that is dark in our world right now so it is good to be able to pause from our anxiety, pain and despair to look also at what is hopeful and what sustains us in the depth of our souls.
The Valentine’s day message from God is that we are to love one another as He loves us. That is what Jesus tells us and it is when we put that into practice we have already turned the world into a lighter and brighter and more loving place.
Meanwhile, thanks to my friend Gill Henwood, God has sent us a Valentine’s card full of beauty and vision. Look around you. God really does want you to be filled with His joy and love. Give Him thanks.
Here’s another reminder of the beauty of Creation, and below it, a suggested text for your Valentine’s Card to God. (Don’t forget to sign it – Amen!)
We acknowledge that as your handiwork,
we stand alongside all that you have made.
Trees and rivers, mountains and valleys,
soaring birds and scuttling creatures,
all are held within your care.
May we grow in our love and appreciation
for the fabulous variety around us;
and may our awe and wonder draw us closer
to the natural world, and through it to you,
the God of all things.
We pray in Jesus name,
Prayer by Revd Cate Williams, Mission and Evangelism Officer
Diocese of Gloucester
Photos by The Revd Gill Henwood
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