Homily Ash-Valntines Day February 14, 2018

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Homily Ash-Valntines Day February 14, 2018

The St. Valentine that is connected with the holiday was martyred on February 14th in the year 270. He, like the other Valentines that followed, was killed because he would not renounce his first love: the God that he worshiped as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When the Roman Empire was Christianized by Constantine a few generations later, Valentine’s martyrdom was linked to an old Roman festival where young males and females were paired up via a lottery to be couples for the next year. Over time this gave rise to the modern tradition of the Feast of St. Valentine’s being a day for lovers.
Ash Wednesday, on the other hand, is THE day during that year that we most wrestle with…
our mortality…
our sinfulness…
our inability to get it right…
and ultimately our need for God.
It’s a hard day…a sobering day…a solemn day…as we confess our sins, receive the mark of the cross and hear these words spoken over us: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
But, like St. Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday is also a celebration of love.
Many of you know that in the New Testament there are three different Greek words for describing love. There is “eros” love, the kind of romantic love that we tend to celebrate on St. Valentine’s Day with our special someone. It’s that love that often begins with butterflies and giddiness and, over time, evolves into a deep, abiding friendship full of trust, commitment…and true beauty.
There is “philia” love or brotherly love that too, in time, evolves into a deep, abiding friendship full of trust, commitment…and true beauty.
And lastly there is “agape” love. Agape love is the kind of love that God has for us, that gives and gives and gives and never ends. It’s the kind of love at the heart of the Gospel – even and especially on Ash Wednesday – when we stand before God, remembering not only how we came into the world but how we will one day leave it.
And this agape love of God, as we learn to embrace it, will, in time, also evolve into a deep, abiding friendship…full of trust, commitment…and true beauty.
So Happy Ash-Valentine’s Day! May it be a day during which we all come to realize that we are God’s beloved as we once again turn back to God…the Great Lover of our souls!
From February 14 Ash Wednesday homily entitled, “Happy Ash-Valentine’s Day!”
 
 
Rev. Lane Glaze
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC

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