It’s the time of year where you either avoid or endure the supermarket aisles brimming with red and white cards and gimmicky gifts.
If you are in the enduring group then I’m sure you will have spent time seeking out the perfect card only to be faced with cards with meaningless phrases like “I love you to the moon and back”. Which leaves me wondering: how do you love someone a specific distance like 768,800km?
Or how about “You’re one in a million”. Which may as well read “There are 64.1 other people in the UK alone who are just like you”. Very romantic.
Then the much overused “You’re the best husband/wife/boyfriend/fiancée in the universe” – a statement which implies relationships are some sort of competitive love contest. (Or possibly that you tried dating Klingons just to make sure you have identified the best possible partner.)
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that receiving the right card and gift on Valentine’s Day, having the picture-perfect wedding, or taking a romantic mini-break will add up to a perfect relationship which will make us feel like a complete (and smug) human being.
Well I have had these things (for which I am very grateful) but I can tell you that as far as relationship needs go they don’t cut it. It isn’t selfish of me to say that I need more, because God created both me and you for much more than the trimmings of a one-to-one romantic relationship.
We are created to be in relationship; it is a reflection of the Trinity, and it is a longing that God has placed in our hearts in order to draw us closer to Him as well as to each other.
As a church we can only reflect the diversity, intimacy, and richness of the triune relationship through how we love and relate to one another - in friendships, in families, in marriage, and in community.
So if you have a partner, by all means buy them a (well phrased) card this Valentine’s Day. But please let's none of us let the world sell us short.
We all need to seek and pursue God’s heart first, and look at how we can best love all of our significant others -whether they are friends, family, neighbours - second.