This week love is in the air as we celebrate St Valentine’s Day. The man responsible for this celebration is long dead. The stories of Valentine have little historical accuracy; some argue he was a priest who resisted the Roman Emperor and was martyred; a popular story has him marrying couples during the persecution of Christians and another has him refusing to bow down to pagan gods and ending up in prison. Whilst he was in prison, he restored the sight of his gaoler’s daughter and, after he had been executed, she found a note from him signed, ‘Your Valentine.’
Whatever the truth about Valentine the idea of having one day a year to celebrate love has caught the public imagination. But love is not all about romance; it is a many splendored thing and it is something to be celebrated all year round. As Christians we believe love is our gift, our message and our mission. Love should shape our every decision and direct our every relationship for love is the way we should live; it is the most excellent way!
So, said St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians! He wrote some powerful words about love: “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. Love never ends.”
On 14th February I hope St Valentine’s Day will be celebrated, especially if you are blessed with a romantic relationship, but I also hope we all follow St Paul’s advice and pursue love, the most excellent way, every day of our lives.
Rev Jason McCullagh