Love in action

Love in action

On February 14 we celebrated Valentine’s Day in our culture.  Not the original kind, but more the Hallmark kind.  There are at least two legends about the origins of Valentine’s Day.  One of those concerns one Valentinus, a Christian priest in the 200’s, who was suspected of secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers, an act forbidden to the soldiers of the time.  After being arrested and scheduled for execution, on the night before the sentence was to be carried out, he healed the blind daughter of his jailer.  He also left a note for her to see with her new sight, signed “your Valentine.”  Another legend concerns an early Christian, Valentine, who after visiting a friend in prison and seeing the horrendous conditions the prisoners were forced to endure, began sending notes of encouragement. 

Of course the Hallmark tradition comes from different origins! It starts with a pagan fertility celebration of Lupercalia, from February 13-15 and which the Church “officially” bans in the 400’s.  It remains an unofficial cultural celebration of fertility for 1000 years until Chaucer connects the celebration with romantic love.  And the rest, as they say, is history!  So, now we show our love for family and friends with Valentine’s Day cards.

It’s no accident that this year we also celebrated in worship the Week of Compassion on Valentine’s Day.  This offering which comes once a year for Disciples of Christ, is received by other Protestant churches as well, but under different names (i.e. One Great Hour of Sharing).  The dollars raised are used almost entirely as short-term humanitarian aid following natural disasters and civilian relief in war-torn areas, plus some long-term relief efforts.  If you haven’t supported the offering yet please consider doing so in the coming weeks.

As I was typing, I was struck by the diverse multiple ministries/mission projects we support as a community of faith: Project Hope (human trafficking project), House of Ruth, Heifer International, Save the Children, Aids Interfaith Ministries (AIM), and Jeffersontown Area Ministries (JAM).  We collect things as well: used hearing aid batteries and used greeting cards for Christian Care Communities (CCC), used eye glasses for Vision First, Shampoo and food for JAM, peanut butter and canned chicken for AIM, used shoes for WaterStep, yarn for the Grateful Threads to make scarves and head caps for cancer patients, coats and clothes for JAM, hats, scarves, mitten and socks for the Center for Women and Families, education box-tops and ring-tabs for schools (looking for new schools to support) and providing volunteers at Project Hope, Love the Hungry, Inc., St John’s Men’s Shelter, JAM, AIM, and CCC.  See something on the list you would like to be a part of, call the church!