February 12th

It’s Friday and Sunday’s Comin’!

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, 

There are lots of legends about St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, but not much is known about him other than that he was probably a martyr for the Christian faith in the 3rd century, C.E. The connection of St. Valentine with love didn’t happen until more than 1000 years after his death when Geoffrey Chaucer, in his Parlement of Foules (1380), decreed that the February feast of St. Valentinus was connected to the mating of birds. According to one internet source: 

It seems that, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to produce eggs in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. For example, the French Duke of Orléans, who spent some years as a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote to his wife in February 1415 that he was “already sick of love” (by which he meant lovesick.) And he called her his “very gentle Valentine.” *

Ophelia referred to herself as Hamlet’s Valentine in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and eventually people began using the saint’s day in February as a time to send love letters ….and you know the rest of the story…Hallmark cards, chocolate, flowers. 

The relationship between what can be known, the traditions that we come to associate with a particular hero or event, the practices that come into being simply because they ‘catch on’ (Chaucer being a kind of medieval Twitter!) and our desire to understand the complexity of truth is an interesting relationship, 

Many biblical stories demonstrate this complexity and they also testify to the steadfastness of God’s love in the face of troubles. Psalm 18 is one such testimony and is sometimes called a Psalm of love: 

I love you, Lord, my strength; The Lord is my solid rock,
    my fortress, my rescuer…he’s my shield,
        my salvation’s strength,
        my place of safety. (Psalm 18:1-2) 

Check it out as a psalm for Valentine’s Day. 

Grace and peace, 
Pastor Mary

*from The Conversation.com.