As this month of love comes to a close I would like to recap some life changing information we heard here at th Remnant Fellowship church this month. Its beautiful to see the way that everthing points up to God, this holiday of love that we celebrated this month is one that I dont think I will ever look at the same way again.
Love, Kärlek, Amore, or Die Liebe, no matter if you are saying the word in English, Swedish, Italian, French, or even German, love has a universal meaning throughout the world. In this month of sweetheart candies and valentine cards, many are caught in the emotion of it all and may not realize what the true history is behind this holiday of Amore.
Although the dates are not clear, many historians have come to similar conclusions. In an excerpt from a recent sermon given by Gwen Shamblin at the Remnant Fellowship Church, she explains clearly and easily how the Hallowed Saint Valentine of the Catholic Church came to be such a household name.
“The Catholic version states that Valentine was revered by the young and the old, with people of all walks of life attending his sermons and Church services. He was a preacher in Rome during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, also known as Claudius Gothicus. Claudius had served with the Roman army for all of his adult life, making his way up the military hierarchy until the emperor Galianus made him commander of this elite cavalry force. Not long after being named emperor, Galianus died, so Claudius was promoted to emperor. He followed this up by conquering the Goths – winning one of the greatest wars in the history of Roman arms, thus he became known as Claudius Gothicus, conqueror of the Goths.
He was a great military man and so he heavily recruited men to serve as soldiers in his army and for his wars. Men preferred not to leave Rome, their sweethearts, their wives, or families to fight in these foreign lands. According to the Catholic Church, Claudius became angry at this and declared that no more marriages could be performed, and all engagements were cancelled. The Catholic Church and this priest Valentine thought this to be an attack on God and His Church, so he secretly married several couples— allowing them to stay engaged and get married. When Emperor Claudius Gothicus found out, St. Valentine was arrested, and he then was imprisoned,“ explains Gwen Shamblin.
This understanding gives a whole new to meaning to the four-letter word that seems to be tossed around so loosely during this month. It is tremendously humbling to consider that during our month when many women hold high expectations and frantic valentine dinner reservations are being made, there was a time when a Saint persevered in his faith no matter the obstacles.
On no account would we want to belittle the true and sincere love God has allowed us all to experience. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul talks about what love is, and describes that there are four things love does, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
During one of our covenant wedding ceremonies at the Remnant Fellowship church we learned what the definition of true love is from Gwen Shamblin, “You’ve heard the expression wind beneath my wings, someone invisible yet empowering you to shine forth. This gift of love is God, you’re heavenly Father. God is this love, and this love is only found in the heavens. It is the love of God and Christ and it’s so rare to find for most believe that a life of love would imply you would never have a life of your own; so this self-less love is dismissed before it is even tried. Many a person will be an agent and lift up others, if it pads their pocketbook. But where is the agent that will sacrifice for simply the good and salvation of others? That is true love.”
This historical rediscovery has given us yet another beautiful example of how our ancestors and all the martyred Saints from our history had taken every thought captive and had such strong love relationships with their Heavenly Father that no ruling or imprisonment could keep them from sharing the Gospel of God.
In the conclusion of Gwen’s sermon she describes how we can now look at Valentine’s Day in a whole new light and interpretation.
“Valentine’s Day should be a tradition that is more enlightening and more principled—something that is more godly and God-focused than what we have all grown up in…to teach the children what is more excellent. Valentine—Saint Valentine—aided young Christians being persecuted by Claudius Gothicus also known as Marcus Aurelius’ and he was imprisoned, and while in custody, he evangelized to keep the faith, trying even to convert the emperor himself, which is a completely brave, selfless, life-risking thing to do. And it turned out to be life-risking. To avoid twisting the externals of what Valentine did, we need to uphold the deeper meaning of his motives. He lived and he died and sacrificed for the commands of God—resisting evil governments, accentuating the good, and then in persecution he did not denounce his faith.”
There is no better time than the present to look back on our lives and consider how we have passed down these acts of love. At the Remnant Fellowship Church, members are taking to heart these four words Paul uses to describe love always protecting, always trusting, always hoping and always preserving selflessly. There is no other place I would rather be than in the midst of those who have true love in their hearts, as was said at the convent ceremony that love is in God and Jesus Christ.