Today is a day when we remember St. Valentine, who was an early Church Bishop, who conducted many marriages to allow young men to avoid conscription (the Emperor at the time believed single men made better soldiers).
Whilst in Prison, he prayed for the jailers daughter who was blind, she was healed and her sight restored. He was brutally Murdered/Martyred, but his last letter was signed “your Valentine”, and so the tradition of sending love notes on valentines day has continued.
Ironic, that we celebrate romantic love from a man who kept a vow of celibacy.
Today can be a day of great joy, and that’s great, but just because we are in a good season, we realise this isn’t necessarily true for everyone.
Today is a day which brings up lots of pastoral issues, What about those who were married but are no longer through divorce or bereavement, today can be a tough day?
What about those who maybe wanted to be married and yet never has been, again today could be a challenging day.
What about those who are married but their marriage has become a really tough challenge?
Some people too in our Churches maybe in complicated relationships.
(A great book and blog about Singleness comes from my friend Kate Wharton -single minded https://www.amazon.co.uk/Single-Minded-Being-Single-Whole-Living/dp/0857214306 , http://katewharton.blogspot.co.uk/ ).
Sometimes we turn love and life into something unreal and unattainable, those of us who are married don’t live “happily ever after” marriage is something wonderful, but not always easy.
Single people might have freedoms and opportunities that we might envy when just getting a babysitter and getting out the house feels like a rare achievement, but when I was single I certainly didn’t feel lucky, in fact sometimes I felt lonely and sad about being single.
The truth is that we, especially in a facebook age, present one thing to the world and another thing is the reality in our hearts behind closed doors.
Sometimes Churches are good at joy, but less good with complexity and mess.
Sadly our Churches don’t always feel safe places, where are all are welcome. I long to see Church become a place that can laugh with those who laugh and cries with those who cries, sharing the reality of joys and sorrows. It is human nature to run comparisons, -normally unfavourable- yet the truth is the grass is not always greener. Whatever our circumstances life always presents challenges. How do we as Church, become a community of grace that supports and loves one another in our variety of different life stages and relationship status’? Where joys and sorrows are freely expressed.
So, lets be people that love, welcome and walk alongside one another whatever our life looks like at the moment, let’s bless and receive blessing, showing a world Christ’s love displayed in the way we treat one another.