Calvary is a very special place with great preaching, wonderful music, an active laity, and a friendly and mission-focused congregation, this parish has it all.
“As a place of tolerance and acceptance of others; the friendliness, love and support of our congregation ensures we will continue to remain an open and affirming place for everyone.”Vision 2020 excerpt
Valentine’s Day is a Christian, cultural, and commercial event. It is not a holiday. Banks, shops, and schools will be open. Many will not even know the day is associated with St. Valentine who, according to tradition, was martyred, among other things, for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry. He is reported to have healed one of his jailor’s daughters while he was imprisoned and sent her a letter prior to his execution signed, “Your Valentine.” It is not surprising that his feast day is associated with romantic love.
Growing up with a Mid-February birthday, my special day was always confused, or better said, co-mingled, with Valentine’s Day. The upside of it all, however, was that my mom always made me a heart-shaped cake. Receiving hearts, at least on Valentine’s Day and my birthday, meant that I was loved.
But love is more than hearts and lovely verses on a card, red roses, or delicious candy in a heart-shaped box. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that LOVE is much more than a feeling or attraction. Scholars have often referred to this passage as the Hymn of Love. Love is a quality and a commitment that transcends self: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” When love is encountered in this way, we are touched by God’s steadfast love — the love offered for us on the cross. When we bear this love, we are God’s messengers.
May the words and tokens of love which you send this Valentine’s Day, and everyday, carry more than warm feelings. Blessed by the gift of God’s love for you in Jesus, be a blessing for others in bearing this same love to all.
[This posting originally appeared on the Religion page of The Warren Sentinel of February 13, 2014]