By Wallace H. Jorden
Special to The Guardian
This past Wednesday, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, a day associated with love and romance. I trust that you remembered kindly your loved one.
A husband once asked his wife what she wanted for Valentine’s Day. She replied, “nothing,” but he soon discovered that she meant “something,” as an expression of his love for her.
Regarding the origins of St. Valentine’s Day, one legend associates it with the martyrdom of priest Valentine of Rome, on Feb. 14, 269 A.D. Valentine had defied the emperor’s edict, banning marriage for soldiers.
One night, he heard footsteps at his door while he was performing a wedding. The couple escaped, but Valentine was arrested. While in prison, young couples visited him, including the daughter of a prison guard. On the day of execution, he left a love note for her, grateful for her friendship and loyalty. It was signed: “Love from your Valentine.”
The truth is that we all need to love and be loved, but the sad reality is that human love is partial and unpredictable, at best. God’s love, however, flows freely and fully from His divine nature and perfect will and is unchangeable, unfailing and unconditional. There is nothing that we can say or do to earn, deserve or deter God’s love.
The divine canopy of the Father’s love over us is unaffected by our behaviour, whether good or bad. We did nothing to create it and we can do nothing to destroy it. The source of God’s love is God Himself for “God is love” (1 John. 4:8) and His love is holy and without human conditions.
We may not know much about our creator, but God knows everything about us (Psalms 139:1-4), even to the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:29-31).
In fact, we were made in God’s image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:27) and are His offspring (Acts 17:28). Our birth was not a mistake: God even chose its exact time, and wrote all our days in His book. (Psalms 139:2) In God we live, move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
God sent us a loving and gracious Valentine when He sent Jesus to earth. Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) God loves you and me “and sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9) We need only to acknowledge our need of His forgiveness through repentance and faith, and then find ways to share His love with those whom God places in our pathway. ” Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”(1 John 4:11)
Saint Valentine has become a legend for defying the Roman Emperor and standing up for love and marriage, which cost him his life, but what really made him a saint was that he received the amazing grace and love of Jesus through repentance and faith, and witnessed to all God’s transforming love through his loving relationships and humble service. When we love others with the love of Christ within us, we are no less a blessing to others than Saint Valentine.
Happy belated St. Valentine’s Day!
Wallace H. Jorden is a retired Baptist pastor. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.