This Sunday is the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany and the Sunday before Valentine’s Day. Many will celebrate their love for their partner by sending cards or letters, giving gifts or flowers and arranging meals in restaurants or romantic nights in hotels. It was estimated $20.7 billion was spent for Valentine’s Day in the U S in 2019.
There are several Saints called Valentine honored on February 14th. It might be surprising to know that Valentine’s Day didn’t become associated with romantic love until the 14 century as a result of a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” People assumed that Chaucer was referring to February as Valentine’s Day.
J C Cooper, in The Dictionary of Christianity, writes that Saint Valentine was “a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for giving comfort, support assistance, and a helping hand to persecuted Christians.” Prior to that time, to be considered someone’s Valentine referred to a person imitating the actions of Jesus’ mission as He defined in Luke 4:17-18 of helping someone, especially someone who is suffering or in need.
As followers of Jesus, we ought to follow His example. Jesus provides us assistance in our time of need; therefore, we are to provide assistance to others in their need. It’s what we proclaim in our mission statement “we exist to … care about one another in Christ.” So, the assigned text in Isaiah 58 reminds us of the promised assistance God offers to us as God’s children. And Matthew tells us “we are the light of the world … Let ‘our’ light shine, so that others can see the good things ‘we’ do and give praise to God.”
On this Sunday before Valentine’s Day, join us for worship with a sermon that looks at being a Valentine as something beyond romantic love. My sermon is “‘Be My Valentine’ and ‘I’ll Be A Valentine’” based on Isaiah 58:9b-12 and Matthew 5:13-16.