My wife and I receive a lot of greeting cards. Thursday was no exception. Yet one of the Valentine’s Day cards was unique; it contained a copy of a sermon I wrote for the Killeen Daily Herald six years ago.
I wish the sermons I preach on Sunday would last that long. Then on Wednesday, I got an urgent call to write one for today. So, this is a repeat. Maybe you remember.
By now, all the chocolate candy has been eaten, the flowers have faded, and the Valentine’s Day cards have been stored away in that special box with past Christmas and birthday cards.
Over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards were purchased this year. Makes you wonder if the day wasn’t invented by Hallmark. It’s always good to tell someone you love them.
The history of Valentine’s Day is somewhat clouded. Legend says that the day celebrates the life of a Catholic priest, who under Roman rule, secretly married couples when marriage had been forbidden, by Emperor Claudius II, who believed that single men made better soldiers than married ones. And you thought it was the U.S. Army that said, “If a soldier needed a wife, we would have issued him one.”
The Catholic Church once placed the day on the calendar of special feast days, but in 1969 dropped it from the official calendar because of confusion over its origin.
Valentine’s Day probably has Roman roots in the festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. It honored the births of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The event was too sexually oriented for Pope Gelasius, who declared that the day before should be celebrated as a time to honor those worthy of saintly love.
Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first “official” Valentine card to his wife in 1415. My wife still has all of the cards I have given her.
God has a Valentine’s Day card for you. It comes in many forms. If you prefer the written kind, you will find it in the Bible. Such phrases as “God so loved (you) that He gave His only Son for you to believe in and have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He also tells us to “love one another” (1 John 4:7).
St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words.”
Maybe you’d like your love letter to come in action. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). He did! Many soldiers from our community have also.
The Apostle Paul conveyed that love-in-action theme when he wrote, “Through love, serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
Consider making a few post-Valentine’s Day calls to someone who needs an encouraging word of love. Pray for the families of soldiers whose death has left a void of love in their lives.
Finally, discover some way to act out the love of Christ to a person who desperately wants to know that God really does love them. Valentine’s Day is over, but the love of God keeps on giving.
The Rev. Jimmy Towers is pastor of LifeWay Fellowship in Killeen.