"Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:24-26
According to the ancient legends, Valentine was a young Christian priest who lived in ancient Rome. His was an age when young Roman men were not overly eager to leave home and hearth to fight in the emperor's unpopular and seemingly unceasing wars. According to the story, the emperor placed a ban on marriage for all of Rome’s young men, for men without a love connection to wife and family would more readily march away to distant lands.
Valentine felt sorry for the unhappy Christian men and their sweethearts, so he secretly and illegally performed a large number of Christian marriages. Eventually his compassion placed him in prison. Outside Valentine’s cell window was a cluster of violets. Valentine picked some of the heart-shaped leaves and painstakingly spelled, "Remember, your Valentine loves you." Then he would drop those leaves carrying the reflected message of Jesus’ love to the streets below. Eventually, Valentine was put to death because of his faith in the Savior.
Valentine died knowing that in the Bethlehem manger, God, in the person of His Son, our Savior, had sent humanity—and him—a message saying, “I love you.” On the cross of Calvary, as His Son carried our sins, God sent a message which said, “I love you.” In the open and empty tomb, the Lord gives us the promise that His love cannot be confined to our days on earth, but continues on from this world even into heaven.
Sadly, still today there are many who, in spite of the Savior’s life of sacrifice, feel unloved, unappreciated, uncared for, lost, or lonely. If you are among those who believe you are forlorn and friendless, know that God’s gracious love is there for all who have faith in Jesus. With Jesus as your ever-living Savior, you are given a wonderful, lasting friend who will never forget you. And if you are already part of Jesus’ family of faith, hold fast to Him, who is proof of God's care. Believe that no matter how others may treat you, in Jesus you have God’s unending, all- encompassing love.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on February 15, 2004
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to remember that Your gracious love is there for me. I hold fast to you and find comfort in the fact that no matter how others may treat me, I have God’s unending, all-encompassing love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.