Ash Wednesday / Valentine’s Day

Today is both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which is a season of reflection and often fasting as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the events of Good Friday and Easter

Valentine’s Day began as the Feast of St. Valentine, who was martyred in the third century for defying the Roman Emperor Claudius by promoting Christian marriage over service in the Imperial army

As you celebrate this day with your friends and family, remember that this world and all that is in it is temporary. Scripture says this about the creation and fall of man:

Genesis 2:7 (NLT)

Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Genesis 3:19 (NLT)

By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.

But while we are here, we are called to love each other the way that our Father in heaven loves us – that while we are merely dust given life, that He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we could live forever with Him in heaven. This is how the Bible describes what love should look like:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

This world will tell you that love is love and that tolerance is the true culmination of enlightenment. But I am here to tell you that the love displayed towards us on the cross takes things a few steps further than tolerance.

God did not choose to simply tolerate us. Instead, He chose to adopt us as His own children, despite our humble origin and our sinful arrogance.

God sent His Son so that we can be made new, cleansed from the inside out. He knows our hearts, and He knows our innermost desires. He wants us to become the best versions of ourselves.

So, as we reflect on this unique day – being both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, let us commit to living out our faith by fighting for the only type of love that can truly change the heart of man.

Love is not a feeling. Love is not an emotion. Love is a choice to lay down our lives for someone else each and every day. May we learn to walk in the ways of our Lord and remember His words:

John 15:12-14, 17 (NLT)

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. This is my command: Love each other.