5 Ways to Express Love and Be a Valentine Every Day

What does love have to do with Black History, “Make a Friend Day,” “Random Acts of Kindness Day,” Presidents’ Day…

all these are part of February’s calendar for those living in the US.
But in the center of the month?  A day devoted to love: Saint Valentine’s Day.
Saint Valentine of Terni uniting in marriage love Sabino and Serapia Basilica di San Valentino, Terni, Italy

Stained glass
© Basilica di San Valentino, Terni, Italy

In some sense, you could say that love is a common thread running through all the other celebrations in the month.
But is this special day of love just the creation of marketers wanting to sell us candy, cards and candles?
No, there is a back story of Valentine’s Day in Christian tradition that speaks not only of friendship (philia) and romantic (eros) love, but also sacrificial (agape) love.
You can go here to read how Saint Valentine might tell this tale of love.
Love. On this feast day of Saint Valentine when so many are gripped by fear, I am hearing the scripture remind us that “perfect love casts out fear.”
In a season when hate seems so prevalent and pervasive, when one hateful remark hurled is quickly responded to with equal or greater hateful words and actions, let’s remember the wisdom of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,: “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
And like Dr. King, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Now, the meaning of love, in the English language, is all about context. Since we only have the one word, we use it for multiple purposes: “I love pizza, baseball, a book, a sibling, parents and my spouse!”
In contrast, the ancient Greek language has four words for love: philia, storge, agape and eros. Valentine’s Day has focused primarily on the eros/romantic love.
But don’t let societal norms restrict or limit your expression of love on this Valentine’s Day (and every day!) Remember, the rich tradition of this day speaks of all these loves.
Here are five possible ways you could express love this Valentine’s Day.
  1. a random act of kindness to someone you do not know;
  2. a phone call, letter, or email to a long-time deeply treasured friend you’ve known for years;
  3. a kiss, a romantic embrace — a “Song of Solomon” moment with your lover;
  4. resist being overwhelmed with the evil present around you by overcoming that evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
  5. pray for your enemy or someone who seeks to harm you. (Matthew 5:44)
Maybe doing all five is not possible today. Then do one or two or three. But do some tangible work of love today.
Because “the proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” (attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great)
In a homily on John 14:23-27, St. Gregory preached: “God’s love is never idle. Where it exists, it does great things; if it refuses to work, it is not love.”
Divine Love is never idle. You are loved.
And I am grateful for you taking time to read this. I pray it has encouraged you. If so, please share the post with someone you think might also benefit. And post a comment with how you’ve taken action and done some great work of love, with great love.
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A Note From Saint Valentine – A First Person Tale

Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine.
I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius.
Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join.
Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families.
As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army.
So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn’t going to support that law!
Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favorite activities was to marry couples.
Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies — secretly, of course.
St Valentine celebrating a marrageIt was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.
One night, we did hear footsteps. Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.)
I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.
I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit
me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages.
On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, “Love from your Valentine.”
I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D.
Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh — because they know that love cannot be beaten!

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FaithKids Ministries launched

FaithKids Ministries is a new not-for-profit providing resources for ministering to children. But the founder and creative director, Steve Pennington is not new to kids ministries.

Steve is a respected and sought after leader in ministering to children. For decades he has innovated and created resources that capture kids attention and teach biblical values. As a founder of ProKids and former staff member of Saddleback Church, Steve is now launching FaithKids Ministries that will produce cutting edge resources for ministry to children.

Towel & Basin is assisting in the launch of this new not-for-profit ministry, with president David Best serving on the founding board of directors.

For more information about FaithKids Ministries contact them at
2479 Murfreesboro Pike, Number 238
Nashville, TN 37217
Tel: 615.270.9318
Email: faithkidsministries@gmail.com
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Gloria Scott Reflects on The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Second Sunday of Advent 2015: Prayers of the People

A New Church Year, and a New Church:  At the inaugural worship service of Resurrection Church of the Nazarene in New York City, Towel & Basin president David Best joined Dean of the Palmer Institute, the Reverend Bruce Barnard, in leading the congregation in these prayers…David Best and Bruce Barnard

Bruce Barnard: In peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord have mercy.”

David Best: For the holy Church of God, that it may be filled with truth and love, and be found without fault at the day of your coming, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Bruce Barnard: For our Board of General Superintendents, for our District Superintendent Pastor Art, for our clergy and ministers, and all the holy people of God, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

David Best: For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that our divisions may cease and that all may be one as you and the Father are one, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Bruce Barnard: For the peace of the world and especially for our allies in France, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples; for our cities in this land, for civil unrest and violence, especially those in San Bernardino, for lives lost and lives taken, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

David Best: For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for refugees and especially those fleeing Syria, prisoners, and all who are in danger; that they may be relieved and protected, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Bruce Barnard: For this Episcopal parish, for New York’s Bishop Andy, for the congregation of The Good Shepherd, for Rector Erika, for their willingness to share space with us for worship and break bread in communion, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

David Best: For all who have died in the communion of your Church, and those whose faith is known to you alone, that, with all the saints, they may rest in the place where there is no pain or grief, but life eternal, we pray to you, O Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Bruce Barnard: Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this now, for yours is the majesty, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yours is the kingdom come, and the kingdom of not yet; yours is the power and the glory and the honor, now and forever.

People: Amen.

Towel & Basin, along with our urban initiative, Center for Urban Strategy Development, is committed to assist founding pastor Paul Moore with this new church.  Please keep us and Resurrection Church of the Nazarene NYC in your prayers. And let us know with a comment below (or a voice message on this page) if you are interested in discovering other ways to help.

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