Little is reliably known about St. Valentine. Legend has it that he was a Christian priest during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius who was martyred for his witness. Another tale says that he secretly married Christian couples to keep husbands from being conscripted into military service. Thus the “romantic” aspect of Valentine’s story…
In our culture, Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love.
Christians often minimize romantic attraction as superficial and fleeting, but the proper meaning of “romance” refers to “a preoccupation with the beloved that leads to courtship.” In our day, romantic love is too often pursued for its own pleasure rather than for the benefit of the beloved. Likewise, the practice of courtship has been forsaken in favor of “hooking up.”
Valentine’s Day offers believers an opportunity to reframe romance in its proper biblical context as well as to celebrate the truth that we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). One of my favorite books on this theme is “The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer To The Heart Of God” by John Eldridge and Brent Curtis. Here are some select quotes from their work:
“The point is the love story. We live in a love story in the midst of war.”
“All of us are partly living our story line the enemy offers us. Most of us, perhaps, live in not a terribly evil place in the moralistic sense of the word. We simply live where busyness, or apathy, or struggle with circumstances that won’t change occupies most of our energy. And the enemy is perfectly happy to leave us in such a place practicing our religion.”
“Who am I really? The answer to that question is found in the answer to another. What is God’s heart toward me, or, how do I affect him? If God is the Pursuer, the Ageless Romancer, the Lover, then there has to be a Beloved, one who is the Pursued. This is our role in the story.”
“Our lives are not a random series of events; they tell a Story that has meaning.”
Take a few moments today and remember that you have been loved from before the foundations of the world.
You have a Lover who has traversed heaven and earth—even sin and hell itself—to win you for his own.
Your life has meaning and purpose because the God of the Universe loves you infinitely and eternally.
We respond to his sacred romance by receiving his grace, by becoming a conduit of it, and by becoming great worshipers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!