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The Perfect Valentine

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7) 

As we draw close to Valentine’s Day, our thoughts turn to romantic love. People will crowd the aisles searching for the perfect card that expresses what they know but have trouble expressing, florists will be swamped with orders for long-stemmed roses, and the parking lot at Hillard’s Chocolates will be packed. Years before all these modern expressions of love, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned Sonnet 43 to her husband Robert. 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

While the poem is about romantic love, it expresses the passion we should have in our love for God, our perfect valentine, and one another. 

As God's cherished children, we have encountered his passionate, perfect, and pure love. In His love for us, He came to earth, suffered, and died so we might be reunited. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” (John 15:13-17 NRSV)

It is the manifestation of God's grace living within us that we have intimate knowledge of what it is to be loved and how to live in love. In response to his beautiful gift, we show our adoration to God with praise, worship, and devotion to one another through caring and compassion.

Loving Father, our Perfect Valentine, we can only love others with Your love. We confess our love has, at times, been imperfect and limited. Forgive us; we pray and pour forth Your love into our hearts so that the love of Jesus streams out from us as rivers of His living water. We pray that through us, Your love will bless those around us. We pray in the name of your pure, perfect, and passionate Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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