From Revd Christopher Deakin

‘Lenten Valentines’

During this month Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, share the same date! It seems an odd mix, yet there is an obvious link: love! Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, is about learning how to love God more, as we give Him space in our lives. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ experience in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13).

Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit , where He was tempted by Satan, but demonstrated the path of real love. Jesus is tempted to turn stones into bread. Love gets to the heart of human need, not just satisfying physical desires. Satan tempts Jesus to worship him. However, worshipping God is the beginning of love and results in sacrificial service to meet the needs of others. Finally, Jesus is tempted to put God to the test, by jumping off the Temple. Only real love can change hearts by practical love and care.

Lent teaches us how to live out the love of God in practice, as we follow Jesus in the way of the cross. 

Valentine was Christ’s follower, committed to sharing God’s love with others. We know little about him, except that he was a priest who lived in the 3rd Century AD and was martyred on February 14th. Emperor Claudius felt that soldiers in the Roman Army were distracted from their duty by their wives, and so attempted to outlaw marriage. It is believed that Valentine married couples in secret. He also helped Christians in Rome during times of persecution. He demonstrated the importance of showing real love in action.

In trying to understand the meaning of her revelations from God, Julian of Norwich found: ‘What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning.’ 

Christopher