happy valentines day!
when I was asked to light the HOPE candle today I decided to do some research on Valentines Day. I GOOGLED. And was instantly overwhelmed with the return of 800 million possible sites about its history. Not being a historian, I have no idea how to separate myth, legend, truth and half truths. But one story intrigued me, it stated that Valentine was a Roman, proported to have serve as a priest in the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius commanded the priest to denounce his Christianity. Valentine refused. Claudius jailed him and Valentine became a maryter.
Valentine died on Feb 14th 269 AD. It was said that before he died he wrote a letter to the jailers daughter whom he had become close friends with. Nothing was said about the content of the letter except that he signed it Love, Your Valentine. I do not know if this is true but it is tragically beautiful story. Reading further I learned that in 500 AD the Pope at the time set aside Feb 14th as a day to honor Saint Valentine.
As I have said, I dont know if any of this is true. And it paralysized me for a bit because I didnt want to come down and speak as if I knew historical facts and then find out later that I was wrong. So I sat with that for a little while. And then it suddenly occurred to me that this was the epitome of what Valentines Day has become for us in the modern world of expectations. There is a definite dycotomy between our real experiencs of this day and what we are told our experiences are supposed to be.
If you walk into a store, you will see chubby angels, cards, flowers, stuffed animals and "friendly" warnings about not being a scum bag and forgetting your partner. You turn on the tv and its even bigger than life. Its acted out for us and we are certain that it must be. So, are we all ready? Today, you are either giving or receiving one of the following:
dinner at an expensive restaurant
a weekend away
a diamond anything
you are coupled
you are in love
or falling in love
or at the very least, twitter patted...
So I ask, hows that working for ya? I would venture a guess that about 99% of the population are falling short today. Ouch!
I've been big on reality lately. So I want to share with you my reality of today. And its so easy for me to do. I ask you to just look around room at each other. There isn't face in here that I am not in love with for one reason or another.
Audrey- You have a smile that lights up a room, you are passionate about your career and compassionate with those you come in contact with. I love you for that. Thank you.
Emi- You wear custom Italy shoes.... I love you for that!
In One Peace- No matter how far down I am as I walk into the sanctuary each sunday I leave hardly touching the ground. You lift my spirit and beckon my soul into prayer with your music, the rhythm and lyrics. I love you for that! Thank you.
Rose- Who doesn't love a bowler?
couple- I confess that I dont remember names and I apologize for that but I want you to know that each sunday when I see here it brings me comfort. I love you for that. Thank you.
Then there is our pastor, don't get me started on the pastor... she's like budda....
So as I light the HOPE candle today, it is my hope that we all realize that we are not falling short of our ideal Valentines Day because we love, and we are loved. That is the reality of today. It is also my Hope that as you leave today and spread out into the community that we will remember to tell those people in our lives that we love them and tell them why. My Hope is that no one today feels alone or as if they have fallen short.