It’s Valentine’s day. It’s also four days before Ash Wednesday. Today is that one special day of the year we celebrate love and let those we love know it. Red hearts, roses, chocolate, special dinners, cards expressing our love for each other, perhaps even love letters, the ways we show those we love what they mean to us. On or before that day we go out of our way to find and give some expression of our love for another.
God too went out of his way to show his love for us, his valentine to the world, in the person of Jesus.
In Jesus there is a real, human heart, that flowed out upon a ground stamped with the very opposite of love. The opposite of Life. Jesus’s heart is not just a symbol, but the very real, that great cosmic heart that is still beating today.
Love is the envelope in which Lent arrives. It is at its beginning and at its end. At the end of Lent is the celebration of Jesus’ love for us, his undying gift of himself to us.
Lent is the journey in love to Love. The path of love for forty days. In Christ’s sacred heart is the Real, human love of God for us.
At the close of Thessalonians Paul once again encourages the people to turn their hearts toward the love of God. This is a love that never gets overlooked, doesn’t forget to be mailed, doesn’t end up in a drawer or eventually tossed in the trash. It doesn’t melt, nor does it fly away like a red balloon headed for the heavens. It’s edges don’t turn yellow or the words fade, becoming unreadable. This is an enduring love that once sent remains. Is always readable. A remembered love. An ever present love. A Present this Love. A love that stays with us. Ours simply for the asking. Our simply by breaking open the seal of our hearts. To find another heart waiting there.
Love needing to become tangible, flesh, alive, beating, even at the risk of breaking. A Love that became the world. It’s little and large messages everywhere we look. In the smallest farthest star, in the gritty speck of sand, in the imprint on the leaf and the petal of a flower. In the oldest tree and the newest baby. In a stranger’s smile and the eyes of each child. In the playful kittens and the dog’s insistence to roam. The essence of things is a broken off piece of the Creator’s heart. In each person is the breath and beating of that heart. In that love we become Real. We are made Real.
Like the skin horse said to the Velveteen rabbit, ‘Real isn’t how you are made…It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
And its forever.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!