Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thoughts on Saint Valentine

I've done a bit of research K.I.C.K. and I thought I would share.

What he know is this: There probably was a Saint Valentine. (In fact, there were several saints of the early church by that name.) He likely died for his faith.

St. Valentine was traditionally remembered on February 14th (in the West, at least), possibly the day of his death. (Since there was more than one saint named "Valentine", there may have been other St. Valentine's days!) Typically, we remember saints and martyrs on the days of their deaths, not their births, because that is the date of their "birth to eternal life".

Saint Valentine himself was not originally associated with romantic love. That is a more recent invention. There are many lovely stories that support this idea (for example, the story that he sent his jailer's daughter a note signed "Valentine" or that he performed marriages for young Christians), but they are probably based more on imagination than on history. That doesn't mean they're not worth telling--I think it's helpful for us as Christians to have positive ways of talking about romantic love. But that's not really our primary motivation. Regardless of what else he did, the original Saint Valentine was considered a saint of the early church--and that probably means that he was concerned, above all, with God's love.

So, on Valentine's Day, you have several options. You could stress about whether you are showing enough love (i.e. buying enough presents) for your significant other. You could stress about how you don't have a significant other. Or you could start by remembering that the real source of St. Valentine's life and strength was not romantic love, but God's. And that love is not shown with cards and chocolates (not that I'm opposed to either), but by the life and death of Jesus Christ.
~Pastor Sarah

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