Every six or so weeks, the clergy in our community are asked to write something of 450 words or less to put into a column called The Faith Finder. This week it was my turn and I decided to share with you what I submitted. You are all getting the early version as this isn’t printed until Monday and hits the mailboxes on Wednesday or maybe Tuesday locally, not real sure. At any rate. I spent most of the day chatting and running around, so I was surprised that I was able to get this pulled together along with the bulletin, which I only had to reprint like three times because I kept forgetting something. And, I also had to write a little blurb for the calendar/newsletter for the month of February for the church. Oh such fun we have. Recently I read a post by Rev. Emily Heath of the UCC. She wrote about the various positions in ministry. It was interesting to think about what am I. She mentioned Senior Pastor, Chaplain, Youth Pastor, etc… It may have been easier to figure out what I am not, as in youth pastor and song leader and such, but I realized today while we sat and had coffee and visited, that I am the senior pastor, the chaplain and basically the person who they look to for taking the lead. Boy, this is a scary thought. No wonder they are not too worried about what classes I have been taking this year. I guess it is time for me to start thinking about that. Perhaps if I ever get over the amazement that I am really doing this job, I will begin to understand that it is ok to learn more about what it is that I need to know to do it better. May God be with all of you today, and don’t forget to figure out your Valentine gifts for those you love. Remember that praying for someone is a way to give a gift just as much as buying something expensive. And who knows, it might do more good and be more appreciated. God Bless, and here is the article.
By the time this is printed, there are not too many days left to find a gift or plan for what you and your “honey” will be doing on Valentine’s Day. As holidays go, it has always been one of some curiosity for me. I did my very first formal speech “to inform” on the topic of Valentine’s Day, which in those days meant digging out the World Book Encyclopedia for a research tool. Today you can search the World Wide Web to find a number of interesting facts about the day. There are at least three different men in history that may have been the original person behind the name of the day. The particular date of Valentine’s Day could be related to the martyred death of at least one of these men, or it could be related to the Roman Feast of Lupercalia which was a festival held on the Ides of February (Feb. 15) and connected to superstitions of how to increase fertility in everything from farm crops to women. This feast is featured at the opening of William Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. One source even attributed the date of Valentine’s Day (mid. February) as connected to the mating season of certain song birds. Whatever the truth behind the history or the date of it, Valentine’s Day in our country has turned into an industry for candy makers, card companies and even certain restaurants that all go out of their way to provide us a way to give a romantic gift to a special person or special people in our lives. But unlike the English language that has one word for love, the Greek language has the words Eros and Agape. Eros is the type of love that we share with our romantic Valentine partner. Agape is the love that God has for us. It is a love that has no bounds. In I Corinthians 13, there are several verses that are often used at weddings. It is the chapter that Paul writes in an effort to define love. Those verses contain the lines about love being patient and kind, never envious, boastful, or arrogant and mostly never-ending. Yes, these things can be true about romantic love and love within a family, but let’s face it, we are all human. We all have days when things get a bit out of sorts. At the worst we are upset for a time, at the best we get over it soon. The truth is only God loves us with an unconditional Agape love. This year as you celebrate Valentine’s Day in whatever manner, may you remember that God loves you beyond what anyone else ever can. By the way that passage ends with: “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” NRSV.