I wonder how many of you know the story behind the origins of Valentine’s Day. It is called Saint Valentine’s Day for a reason.
Approximately 250 years after Jesus was born there was a priest by the name of Valentinus. He lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius, who believed that only single men would make good soldiers so he issued a royal edict outlawing weddings in the Roman Empire, earning himself the nick-name Claudius the Cruel.
Valentine secretly continued performing Christian marriage ceremonies and was thrown in jail for performing them. Valentine stayed faithful and cheerful while in prison, communicating with the young couples he had married who came to visit him throwing flowers and notes up to his window to support him.
One day, he received a visit from the blind daughter of one of the prison guards. Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell and they often sat and talked and prayed for hours. Through a miraculous healing from God her sight was restored.
Valentine was sentenced to die undergoing a three part execution involving beating, then stoning, and then decapitation.
On the day Valentine was to die, February 14, 269 A.D he left behind for the prison guard’s daughter a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “With love from your Valentine.”
That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on what was later to be called Saint Valentine’s Day. Now, every year on that day, people remember Valentinus, but hopefully we will remember the valentine of love that God has sent to us: His Son Jesus.
With love, from your pastor and partner in ministry,
P.S. If you are looking for a really good movie about love come to C3 next Friday February 17th at 7:05 pm for “Old Fashioned”. It’s a love story about two young people who together attempt the improbable; an "old-fashioned" and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.