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Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s day’

A physician and priest living in Rome during the rule of the Emperor Claudius, Valentine become one of the noted martyrs of the third century. The commemoration of his death, which occurred in the year 270, became part of the calendar of remembrance in the early church of the West. Tradition suggests that on the day of his execution for his Christian faith, he left a note of encouragement for a child of his jailer written on an irregularly-shaped piece of paper. This greeting became a pattern for millions of written expressions of love and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine’s Day in many nations.

Reflection:  One of those new liturgical actions in a marriage ceremony has been the “unity candle” ceremony.  I was talking with a friend and dear colleague about my  dis-ease about this  ritual of the “unity candle”.  He had this observation: “Please note, Mark, first:  you do not need two candles to light one candle!  So what’s really going on here?  If we look at marriage as a sacrament, and the physical means of marriage is the two shall become one flesh, most couples have already consummated the sacrament.  So the “unity candle” has become an ersatz sacrament.”  I add:  kind of a white washed veneer on what has already occurred.  Most pastors will tell you that couples coming to get married are already living together.  

As a child, I do not remember Valentine’s Day being such a big thing. My opinion is that with the  disestablishment of the Church, marriage attacked on all sides, and the rise and desire for non-ritual worship services, that the void has been filled for such rites and rituals by the secular and idolatrous culture.     I like sit-coms on TV. Valentine’s Day becomes the plot in many especially for “hooking-up”.

St. Valentine is also about love, God’s love, agape in Jesus Christ.   Love is not neutral.  It is a good, an ultimate good. (1 Corinthians 13: 13 ).  But sinners like me don’t love as we ought.  Jesus came in love to redeem our love and cure and heal it.  I’m sure Saul of Tarsus thought he loved the Torah, his people and the like and yet he wanted to murder Christians but Jesus revealed to Him  His true love, even to one as Saul:

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8

Paul’s use of the 1st person plural pronouns “we” and “us” was honest and he found out about love, true love: Christ Jesus loved sinners to death, His death on the Cross.  Luther on the difference between agape/charity and our love :

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

The Apostle wrote in Romans 6:1ff that when we were baptized we were baptized into His death…our love is also crucified so  that His true love take root in repentance and forgiveness and our hearts are made alive.  Paul and Valentine were both martyrs for our true Love.

Some traditions about St. Valentine was that the Caesar not only outlawed the Church but also marriage because the Emperor thought his soldiers would be better warriors not married.  Valentine insisted on presiding over weddings between a man and a woman.  Even if this tradition is not historically verifiable, yet it is probably from an earlier time.  It seems unreal people would be prevented from marriage, yet in our time secular fundamentalism is trying to stop all marriage.  St. Valentine, in his love of our Savior, is maybe the saint for marriage in our dark days.

Beloved in the Lord:  I send you all a Valentine, that Martin Luther described, his seal, and it includes a rose:

Click on this icon to learn more about Luther’s Rose or Seal

Almighty and everlasting God, You kindled the flame of Your love in the heart of Your holy  martyr Valentine.  Grant to us, Your humble servants, a like faith and the power of love, that we who rejoice in Christ’s triumph may embody His love in our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and resigns with  you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.  

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There was a rock station yesterday giving away a free divorce for Valentine’s Day   and Planned Parenthood encouragesabortions for Valentine’s Day, or as the President said in support of abortion, no woman should be punished for having a child.   The morning after Valentine’s Day might include the “morning after” pill to stop gestation, or ‘freedom’ from one’s spouse by yet another divorce or a stranger in bed after a “hook-up”. What has become of love and marriage, or is it marriage and then love?  For a solid reflection on that question read Chad Bird’s article in The Federalist, “Giving Away a Divorce on Valentine’s Day”.  Valentine’s Day is a far cry from the little known Saint Valentine.

Someone wrote a graffiti, “Love is Enough” and another person wrote, “No, it’s not”…especially the way “love” is understood these days as only lust.  The Gospel lesson for tomorrow, the 6th Sunday after Epiphany, includes Matthew 5:26-28.  Jesus goes to the heart, the will. As the country lyric has it correctly about himself and us all: “I’ve looked for love in all the wrong places”.  There  is only person and place to look for the meaning of love and His Name is Jesus Christ and the place is His Cross.  Luther’s Seal may be the best Valentine’s Day card: His Cross in our hearts killing sin, hence, black, but making our hearts alive and beating.  Love for loveless shown. Luther also wrote that ring around it is gold, the color of heaven, but it is also the color of a wedding ring, complete with the purity of a white rose.  He can make the foulest clean.  Hear His Word and receive His Sacrament tomorrow on the Lord’s Day. A blessed morning after Valentine’s Day!

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There was a Valentine and the caption of this cartoon fairly well sums up what we know of him.  Pr. Abrahamson has an excellent article over on the blog Brothers of John the Steadfast to show from original source material that the Church did not adapt the martyrdom of Valentine to compete with pagan customs of the 3rd century,  Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Valentine’s Day.  This is his conclusion and then I have a reflection:

So much imaginative legend has grown up around St. Valentine that today it may be hard to separate fiction from truth. This leaves us to consider why it is that we have Saint’s days in our liturgical calendar. The purpose is that we may use their example of clinging to Christ against all the storms this world can throw at them, their examples of holding fast to the doctrine of Christ for the salvation of their souls, their examples of love for God and love for neighbor in spite of their own sinfulness in this sin stained world.

Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Christ lived and died this example. He rose again to show He conquered Satan, Sin, and Death.

It wasn’t until the 1750s A.D. that men began to create the notion that the choice of St. Valentine’s day had other motivations than just the fact that February 14th was the day he was believed to have died.

This article is an effort to remove the chaff from the kernel that we may “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” without giving “heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”

Reflection:  My opinion is. with the current disestablishment of the Church, and the rise and desire for non-ritual worship services, that the void has been filled for such rites and rituals by the secular and idolatrous culture.  Valentine’s Day is now associated, not even with romantic love, but pure lust. Valentine’s Day has become the ‘high holy day’ of coitus and coitus is it’s ‘sacrament’.    In a society in which marriage is disparaged with every turn, so “love” has been debased with every turn.  I like sit-coms on TV.  Valentine’s Day becomes the plot in many especially for “hooking-up”.  It may be my imagination but as a kid, fifty years or so ago, Valentine’s Day was just a sentimental time.  No longer.  But even love as a mere sentiment of the arrows of  “cupid”, the god Eros is dangerous, remembering Eros was the false god of ‘love’ that is  lust and from that name we have our word “erotic”. 

St. Valentine is also about love, God’s love, agape in Jesus Christ.  This is one of those rare times that Valentine’s Day falls in Lent, the day right after Ash Wednesday.  Love is not neutral.  It is a good, an ultimate good. (1 Corinthians 13: 13 ).  But sinners like me don’t love as we ought.  Jesus came in love to redeem our love and cure and heal it.  I’m sure Saul of Tarsus thought he loved: the Torah, his people and the like and he wanted to murder Christians but Jesus revealed to Him  His true love, even to one as Saul:

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8

Paul’s use of the 1st person plural pronouns “we” and “us” was honest and he found out about love, true love: He loved sinners to death, His death on the Cross.  Luther on the difference between agape/charity and our love :

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

The Apostle wrote in Romans 6:1ff that when we were baptized we were baptized into His death…our love is also crucified so  that His true love take root in repentance and forgiveness and our hearts are made alive.  Paul and Valentine were both martyrs for our true Love.

I send you all a Valentine, from Martin Luther, his seal:

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A physician and priest living in Rome during the rule of the Emperor Claudius, Valentine become one of the noted martyrs of the third century. The commemoration of his death, which occurred in the year 270, became part of the calendar of remembrance in the early church of the West. Tradition suggests that on the day of his execution for his Christian faith, he left a note of encouragement for a child of his jailer written on an irregularly-shaped piece of paper. This greeting became a pattern for millions of written expressions of love and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine’s Day in many nations. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Concordia Publishing House)

Let us pray:  Almighty and everlasting God, You kindled the flame of Your love in the heart of Your holy martyr Valentine. Grant to us, Your humble servants, a faith like Valentine’s and the power of love, that we who rejoice in Christ’s triumph may embody his love in our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

  

 

Reflection on St. Valentine’s Day:  Many people decry Valentine’s Day sentimentality in cards, candy hearts etc.  Nowadays I find such sentimentality almost refreshing compared to what St. Valentine’s Day has devolved. 

I am at the age that I begin to say too often, Now when I was kid…oh, here it goes:  when I was kid St. Valentine’s day was actually all  about sentimentality.  Now it has become a MAJOR holiday as has Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day (please note:  all three of those holidays are actually Christian holy days). Why has this day become major holiday?  One reason is the relegation of the Christian faith and it’s influence on the culture to certain church ghettos (like this blog) which has created a vacuum, and so the secularization of certain Christian feast days.   But why Valentine’s Day?    As I watch television shows, this day  is not primarily a warm celebration of boyfriends and girlfriends and sweethearts but “hooking-up”.  It has devolved into a pagan celebration of the sacrament of erotic love  totally divorced from marriage.  Boyfriend and girlfriends and dating used to be for the purpose of marriage.  Not any longer.  It’s about the “relationship” which might be a one night stand and eventually many night stands.  It might mean “living together” and THEN marriage.  Like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s day is about inebriation leading to the ‘hook-up”.   It does not entail “love” and what used to be called ‘love-making’ .  Please note: couples do not make love any longer: they seek fulfillment through sexual intercourse.  Valentine’s Day is the feast day of this secular ‘sacrament’ and the sentimentality still surrounding the day becomes a patina and a shell for lust.  There is nothing holy about Valentine’s Day in post-Christendom American culture.

The reason Christianity (and with it orthodox Judaism) has been so cast aside as witnessed on this day, named after a Christian martyr no less (!), is simple:  marriage and morality.  “Love is enough” a poet said and someone quipped:  No it’s not.  Not love not made holy by faith through marriage.  In ‘googling” St. Valentine’s Day I came across this at the Lutheran Hour Ministries and according to it:

In 270 A.D., marriage had been outlawed by the emperor of Rome, Claudius II. Claudius issued this decree because he thought that married men made bad soldiers since they were reluctant to be torn away from their families in the case of war. Claudius had also outlawed Christianity in this time period because he wished to be praised as the one supreme god, the Emperor of Rome.

On St. Valentine’s Day the year of our Lord 2,011, we also are seeing the outlawing of marriage in the United States as the basis of family and culture and society by serial monogamy in divorce, ‘hooking-up’, living together, pseudogamy (false marriage, that is,  homosexual ‘marriage’), pornography, etc.   Certain rulers in our own land, both  political and cultural, are considered as supreme, idols, in their opinions and pronouncements by many of our fellow citizens.   Even orthodox Christians become afraid of being labeled “fundamentalist”.   Back to the Lutheran Hour Ministries posting:

Valentine was the bishop of Interamna during this period of oppression. Valentine thought that the decrees of Rome were wrong. He believed that people should be free to love God and to marry. Valentine invited the young couples of the area to come to him. When they came, Valentine secretly performed services of matrimony and united the couples.

Valentine was the bishop of Interamna during this period of oppression. Valentine thought that the decrees of Rome were wrong. He believed that people should be free to love God and to marry. Valentine invited the young couples of the area to come to him. When they came, Valentine secretly performed services of matrimony and united the couples.Valentine was eventually caught and was brought before the emperor. The emperor saw that Valentine had conviction and drive that was unsurpassed among his men. Claudius tried and tried to persuade Valentine to leave Christianity, serve the Roman empire and the Roman gods. In exchange, Claudius would pardon him and make him one of his allies. St. Valentine held to his faith and did not renounce Christ. Because of this, the emperor sentenced him to a three-part execution. First, Valentine would be beaten, then stoned, and then finally, decapitated. Valentine died on February 14th, 270 A.D.

The color red is still apropos this day:  for the love of Jesus Christ and the martyrdom of Valentine.  Maybe in our Christian ghettos, we should remember not only married love but also St. Valentine who was martyred for the sanctity of married love and Christian families in Jesus Christ and so give our witness to a society careening in a very dark night, not as in the day of St. Valentine and His Lord and yours.

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