Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three…. Laura Sykes at Lay Anglicana explores how love of God and love of one another overlap:
Although there are plenty of loving relationships between men and women described in the Bible, you could also say the first ‘battles of the sexes’ are vividly portrayed in the Old Testament. When King David danced in the street before the Lord, the only reaction of Michal (or ‘Michelle’ as I like to think of her) was to “despise him in her heart” ( 2 Samuel 6). Delilah was very unkind to Samson and, when Herodias was offered anything she liked by Herod, ‘even unto half my kingdom’, she chose the head of John the Baptist on a platter. What lesson are we meant to draw from this? …
But, while bearing that in mind, Valentine’s Day may be a moment to concentrate instead on when these relationships go well. Without human love, great art is scarcely imaginable: with it, our souls reach the greatest imaginable heights,
Read her collection of love poems and stories.
Vicky Beeching discusses Why I Struggle with Valentine’s Day.
I’m a huge fan of romance and falling in love, don’t get me wrong! But these red heart shaped cushions, fluffy hamsters or cute puppies and the commericalised version of Valentine’s Day, paint a very warped picture of what love really is.
One of my favourite books is C. S. Lewis’ “The Four Loves”. He speaks of the four different kinds of love; Storge (affection/fondness between family or acquaintances), Phileo (friendship), Eros (intimate/romantic) and Agape (the love of God).
These four loves are all beautiful expressions of who we are as humans created in the imago dei- all important and valuable. So it bugs me a bit when a day like February 14th elevates eros to a god-like status and makes all those who don’t have a ring on their finger feel like they are in the 2nd class club or are missing out on what is presented as ‘the most important’ part of life and love!
Kittredge Cherry believes that St. Valentine is a Marriage Equality Role Model
Marriage equality has a surprising role model in Saint Valentine, a 3rd-century Roman priest who defied the restrictive marriage laws of his era to bless couples who were forbidden to marry. His feast day is, of course, today — Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14).
Saint Valentine was not gay, but he put love above the law to perform outlaw marriages in his day. He can be an inspiration for the current movement to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Roman Emperor Claudius II thought that he would get more and better soldiers if men were not allowed to marry, so he issued a decree outlawing marriage. Saint Valentine continued to perform weddings in secret until he was arrested and executed for defying the ban on such marriages. Legend has it that he fell in love with a woman who visited him in prison, sending her a letter that ended “From your Valentine” — the original prototype for today’s Valentine greeting cards.
Saint Valentine also did weddings for Christian couples at a time when the church was persecuted. Now the tables are turned and conservative Christians are sometimes persecuting LGBT people. They are among the most visible opponents of marriage equality.
But brave clergy pioneered the blessing of same-sex relationships long before it was on the secular political agenda.