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In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
The Lord be with you and also with you
“It must be love..” “Love is all around” “All you need is love” “Love is in the air”
Love, it would seem is the major concern of our lives. Music and Adverts are full of it. It fills our iPods and clogs up our TVs. We can’t seem to get away from it… but What is this thing called love?
Tomorrow/Today is St. Valentine’s Day.
Maybe you are expecting to send a card (or two)
Maybe you are expecting to get at least a card! I some some of the teachers are. I know one at least who’ll be disappointed!
St Valentines Day is the day when sales of cards and flowers and chocolates and teddy bears rocket.
A day to celebrate love. And it is the feast day of this Saint of Love,
…about whom I bet you currently know next to nothing
St. Valentine was a priest in Rome sometime (and to be honest, we don’t know exactly when) in the Third Century AD, so that’s about 1700 years ago…
The Roman Emperor disapproved of marriage, believing that it prevented young men from being excellent soldiers, but St. Valentine disagreed with him, and would secretly marry young men and women to came to him.
He was caught and thrown into gaol, which is where he met the jailer’s daughter, who was blind. They often say that love is blind, and their love flourished. He converted her to the faith, and it is said that his love healed her.
He used to write to her, and always signed his letters “From your Valentine…”
Love is a very complex thing. It isn’t as straightforward a thing as One Direction or Taylor Swift sings about…
Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow: they see there’s a difference between the light flakes of snow that dance in the morning sunshine and the heavy ice that clogs up our roads and needs parents and governors to dig the school out of.
In the same way, there are many different ways to think about love.
Of course the songs we mainly hear about are the soppy kind of love: the “I love you baby” type of love.
But there’s also the love between a parent and a child, so you’d say “I love my Mum or Dad”
Then there’s the love between friends, or between brothers and sisters
And there’s the selfless love that we try to show to our neighbour that Jesus tried to tell us about – the kind of love that doesn’t need chocolates or teddy bears or flowers to be proven – the kind of love that doesn’t have a price tag.
I believe God loves you as a parent loves a child – as one of his own
I believe God loves you with a passion, with intimacy, as a pair of grown-ups love each other
I believe God loves you and celebrates you as you are – as a friend and a brother or sister
I know, and I have experienced, that God loves you, and me, regardless of whether we love him back.
God’s love has, I believe, no strings attached, no conditions.
That’s the most challenging thing about this sort of love – the love that Christians believe Jesus poured out for us on the cross.
It’s not something we asked for, but still God still gives it. God wasn’t required to give us this love, he didn’t have to, but he gives his love anyway: his amazing grace.
It flows as freely as running water, and all we need to do is jump in and be prepared to swim in this amazing love.
This love will never run out, never fade like the flowers, get consumed like the chocolates, get threadbare like the teddies.
This love is for all time, and it is for you. St. Valentine is a symbol both of the love between two grown-ups and the love of God for us.
May you, know, deep down, that you are loved. Amen.
Let us pray…
Blessing and Dismissal