Valentine’s Day. It’s the celebration of the self-sacrificial love of Saint Valentine. It’s a time when we think about how we can express our love to others by considering what they care about, what they value, what they find important.
The ideal antidote to assumptions, the best way to express love for someone, is to listen to them. To pay attention to what they find valuable. And then to do that.
So regardless of what DeBrand’s may advertise, what Nancy wants more than chocolate is time. And a plan for how we’re going to take care of the awful ceiling in our kitchen.
If we were interested in giving God something for Valentine’s day, to show how much we love him, we could listen to what he says is valuable. And then to do that.
Jesus says God is interested in us doing what he asks us to do. And Jesus distills that down to two things.
- Love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
And later, just before he shows us how much he loves us by dying for us, Jesus says that a little differently.
If you love me, he says, keep my commands. And here is my command, he says, love one another.
So if we want to give God what he’d love for Valentine’s day, we’d give him love for each other.
But what does that look like?
There are half a dozen places in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says, “you have heard it said.” They are quotes from what was known as the Law. And Jesus takes those lessons and he revises them. “Here’s what do,” he says.
Rather than taking these lessons as impossible obstacles or difficult standards, Jesus is saying, “Here’s what it means to love one another. It’s hard, but with my help you will be able to do it.”