Thought for the week, 10th February; Valentine’s Day and Lent

This year, Valentine’s day falls on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Anyone for a romantic candlelit dinner with the beloved, but no wine and certainly no chocolate? I suppose, if it were all by candlelight, your beloved might not see you surreptitiously drinking a glass of wine and eating a chocolate bar. Perhaps thoughts like that explain why I’m single… There is not an obvious connection between Lent and Valentine’s Day, but fortunately my colleague, the Rev Val Smith has been thinking about this and, slightly adapting her musings, I think I can see a link.

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate romantic love which is grounded in commitment between two people. It is not about a one-night stand; all passion but no love.  It celebrates love that involves commitment, that requires work and sacrifice and it is not to be entered into lightly.  Likewise Lent  is a celebration, of commitment, in this case, commitment between God and ourselves. It is a time when we are encouraged to explore more deeply our own spirituality; to recognise it needs discipline and perhaps sacrifice. But from a Christian perspective, it is about mutual love and a God who, through the man Jesus, sacrificed himself out of love for us.