A Valentine’s Day Reflection: Minister’s Blog
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!” Luke 6:32
Feb 14th is St. Valentine's Day, and instead of focusing on romantic love, which we often do on this day, I would like to offer a reflection on Luke 6:27-36, a passage that focuses on love as kindness, acceptance, and compassionate service.
I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and during my childhood I heard very little about St. Valentine. February 14 was simply a day when we did special things to express affection for our friends and family members. The celebrations that happened on Valentine’s Day happened at our small-town school, prior to the end of our last class, when we would exchange valentines with all our classmates.
Now, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Jesus’ call to love. Well, I am reminded, as I reflect on what we read in Luke 6:32, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them.” that our childhood Valentine’s Day traditions in rural Saskatchewan did express love like that of Jesus.
You see, I did not give valentines only to my friends, or to the ones I hoped would like me in a special way. Rather, my classmates and I were expected to give valentines to every person in the class, including those whom we didn’t care for, and those we might have considered to be our “enemies” on the playground. We even gave cards to the kids who did not reciprocate. Ironically, our valentine exchange was more a reflection of the kind of love Jesus commends in Luke 6 than it was a celebration of the exclusive romantic love that we celebrate today on Valentine’s Day.
Jesus encourages us to love, not just those who love us back, but also those who do not reciprocate. All of us have such people in our lives. Our calling, as followers of Jesus, however, is to love them and do good to them, not in order that they may respond, but so that we may live each day as beloved, faithful children of God.