VALENTINES DAY – Let’s celebrate the feast!
Do you know the origins of Valentines Day?
In fact St Valentine was a Christian Martyr called Valentinus, though we don’t really know which one he was (there were several).
Lots of stories grew up about St Valentine, Wikipedia quotes this one:
‘ Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.”
St Valentines’s Day is an official feast in the Anglican Church and in other churches worldwide too.
Again, according to Wikipedia, the 14th February was ‘first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).
In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid.’
Although the church traditionally has a bit of a reputation for not valuing human love, its not true. God love for humanity was fulfilled through his Son, Jesus, who was born, just like us, of a woman.
And we should rejoice in human love as a gift from God which, as the wedding service says so well, gives joy and pleasure to the couple themselves, sometimes brings children into the world, and often helps to form strong bonds between families and communities.
Although the shops are full of red hearts and valentines cards to suit all tastes, the tradition of giving a hand made card is a lovely one and still worth considering for that someone special in your life. And gifts of all kinds (so long as they’re nice ones) are always welcome!! If you are looking for some poetry to go into your card you can’t do better than parts of the Song of Solomon in the bible. Even by todays standards it hits the spot and has often been used in pop/rock/folk songs.
The two that spring to mind are: Steeleye Span (Awake awake O northern wind) and also Loreena Mckennit (Dark night of the soul). Both on Utube.
Whatever you do, and whoever you spend it with, have a very happy Feast of St Valentine. If you are up early enough you might even want to come along to our service at 10.00am on 14th to celebrate!