by Pastor Bob Myers
It depends on what age and stage you are in terms of how this holiday feels. One writer expressed the progression of Valentine’s Day this way:
V-Day Single: "I am missing out on so much joy."
V-Day Dating: *stresses out over finding the perfect gift*
V-Day Married: "We should probably, like, go out or something."
V-Day Married w/ Kids: "You need how many valentines? For people who can't even read yet? By when?"
Seventeen hundred and fifty years ago today, Saint Valentine was imprisoned, beheaded and buried on February 14th, 269 AD for helping persecuted Christians and for marrying Christian couples against the orders of the emperor. While in prison he prayed for his jailer’s daughter and her blindness was healed. On the day of his execution he left her a note signed, ‘Your Valentine.’
Some would strain to make the point that Valentine was not about romantic love, that he stood for a courageous, counter-cultural, martyrdom-risking love. But that kind of misses the point and is also a Debbie Downer or “Jesus juke” kind of pious kill-joy.
Valentine was risking his life and imprisoned for his faith, but he continued to risk it all believing in romantic love and serving couples who wanted to get married. While he was imprisoned, living a single life, he served the cause of romantic love even as he served the gospel’s agape love.
Our culture, unmoored from any transcendent standard for love, moves between making romantic love an ultimate idol that rules over every other virtue or absolute, or becoming cynical and condescending, viewing romantic love as a juvenile fad that mature people grow out of. Romantic love is not ultimate to meaning. Jesus lived the fullest of lives without experiencing it on a human level.
This week I will be preaching on how Jesus Christ redeems romantic love and gives it an honored place. God does not denigrate erotic love, but rather redeems it and stabilizes and fuels it to achieve lasting and pure goodness. As Christians, we believe love is the central meaning of the universe, rooted in the eternal love that existed in the Trinity before all time.
Update on Zimbabwe:
We continue to pray for our many friends and ministry partners who are managing with inflation that has made necessities twice as expensive as well as scarce amidst brutal intimidation and violence from the government.
When Pastor Evan was imprisoned, I sent a letter to our congressman Brian Fitzpatrick who has been tremendously responsive and eager to help. Brian Fitzpatrick serves on the House Foreign Relations Committee and is a member of the Africa Relations Committee. Brian took a keen interest in Pastor Evan’s situation and provided a cover letter to the State Department. The State Department has released a clear and helpful statement on the situation in Zimbabwe supporting justice and exposing human rights violations. I am thankful for this. This is how the Bible speaks of how our relationship to government should function. We are called to humbly petition government, advocate for Biblical justice and partner and pray.
Brian Fitzpatrick will be attending a Covenant worship service this weekend, and also meeting with our Zimbabwean members and myself out of concern and solidarity. We want him to see that Pastor Evan is not only an international human rights leader but someone who many of his constituents personally treasure.
We will deliver some special updates about our friends in the worship services this weekend. Be encouraged as you pray. The Lord is working out His purposes and as always has much to teach us through our awareness that we are one global church family.