Giving love on Valentine’s Day

The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge - Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

Valentine’s Day is a splendid day to tell loved ones that we love them. A loving relationship is often taken for granted, but to say, “I love you,” can mean so much to those you love.

Little is known about the saint who gave us his name for this day. Valentine (died 269) was apparently a Christian priest in Rome who assisted martyrs during the persecution under Emperor Claudius II. He himself was arrested, and when he refused to renounce his faith was beaten and beheaded. One writer has said, “By offering his heart, he proved himself a true devotee of the God of love.”

It is the God of love to whom we are devoted. God gave us one another to experience that love, to share the love we have been gifted from God with one another. It includes our families and friends, and can be shared with those who are lonely and who feel unloved. Take a little risk and pray for someone you hardly know but may see on occasion. I’ve

tried this and am amazed how wonderful these persons have become simply because of the way I now approached them. I pray for them daily; and their human and spiritual value has increased for me because I see them in a new light. They have become friends because I became friendly. Somehow love is available even in unexpected situations.

There are many passages in the Bible commending our attention to love. And the depth of our love can be a full commitment. In John’s Gospel we read, “Greater love hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Some indeed have done this, like police officers giving their lives to save someone, and may in the process lose their own lives. Our public servants are often our heroes.

While we enjoy becoming caught up in the emotion of love on this special day, we also know that there is a lack of love in so many places at home and throughout the world. Despots don’t seem to care about love, reverting to power and control. But in the end, love wins, because it is the nature of God to love, who is Love. Mahatma Gandhi put it this way:

“When I despair I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem

invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always.”

Valentine lost his life as a martyr, but we remember him to this day as we love one another. Remember to give your love to someone on Valentine’s Day.

The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge

Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

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