Monday, February 09, 2015

Celebrating Marriage on Valentine's Day

My Pastor's letter in the church's February newsletter...

“A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
is better than steak with someone you hate.”
Proverbs 15:17 (NLT)

Among the great holidays that mark our cultural year, Valentine’s Day can sometimes be easily dismissed. After all, it isn’t connected to a great theological event (Easter, Christmas) or associated with ethnic heritage (St. Patrick’s Day) or sentimental about our parents (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) or wrapped up in patriotic ribbon (Independence Day, Memorial Day). For many, it’s just a reason to buy a card or flowers.

But we miss an opportunity when we treat Valentine’s Day so lightly. This day has become a celebration of romantic love, one of God’s great gifts to humankind. It is also, therefore, a chance to honor & celebrate the covenant of marriage, an institution which the Church believes in & cherishes.

Marriage is perhaps the best example we have to understand the relationship between God & his covenant people. In marriage, a husband and a wife promise to stand with one another in difficult times and in joyous times. That’s not easy! It takes hard work over many, many years to make a successful marriage. When a couple in the church celebrates an anniversary, we should shout for joy and celebrate with them! Marriage is a significant achievement made possible by grace.

Likewise, we read in the Scriptures:
“Be strong…it is the Lord your God who goes with you;
he will not fail you or forsake you…”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NRSV)

God has promised to stand with his covenant people! It takes hard work, even aided & driven by grace, for us to be faithful and for God to be merciful; it took the work of Jesus on the Cross. But, like marriage, it is worth it.

So, this Valentine’s Day, celebrate love. If you are married, thank God for your spouse! If your spouse has passed away, you have every reason to thank God for the love you still share. If you are not married, then praise God for those in your life who are celebrating.

And know that God loves you with a love more wonderful than the best Valentine chocolate!

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