Janet`s February 2020 letter to the Community

I've just come back from a trip to the shops.  The Christmas goods are long gone.  Even the marked-down sale supplies of Christmas crackers and decorations have been swept away.  What's the next trend to command our spending?  Perhaps "Pancake Day" - Shrove Tuesday - will feature, but for many I imagine the next milestone is Valentine's Day on the 14th February.  With its focus on the "hearts and flowers" aspects of romantic love, it's a tough time for many: for those who have sufferend the loss of a spouse or partner in the last year, for those who are unwillingly single and for those whose relationships are under strain.

St Valentine knew about challenge.  We know very little about him, but we do know that he was a priest or, possibly a bishop, who was martyred in Rome under the Emperor Claudius II on 14th February in about 269CE.  His love for his God was greater than his care for his personal comfort and it cost him his life.  There are various theories as to why this day was chosen as a celebration of romantic love, including a link with the pagan Lupercalia festival, or the medieval belief that birds begin to mate on that day.  But we don't know.

What we do know is that there are different kinds of love.  And the romantic "hearts and flowers" kind, while very appealing while we're in it, is not the most enduring, nor the most reliable.  Real love is hard work and, while it includes feelings, is much more about commitment and costly devotion, the kind of love that Jesus lived out in his work on earth.  Whether you are rejoicing in a loving partnership, or struggling to believe yourself lovable, you can be sure that you are loved and valued by God.  And we are urged to love one another as God has loved us.  That would change the world.  Happy Valentine's Day!

With every blessing,


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