By Pastor Jenna Couch, Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee

“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Love is indeed a wonderful gift. We experience love in different ways from different people. God’s love for us is most vividly expressed to us in Christ’s death and resurrection. As it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
When most people think of the month of February, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is Valentine’s Day. Of course, this holiday “celebrates” love in a whole different way. In our culture, it’s a day when we tell those who are special in our lives how much we love them. I appreciate the sentiment of Valentine’s Day, because I think it’s a good thing to recognize and celebrate love. I have to admit, though: I’ve never been a strong fan of the holiday in its cultural context. If you’re in a loving relationship, it can be a wonderful day. For others, it can be a painful reminder of loneliness.

It seems that the message of telling people that they are loved is becoming more and more important. It’s a message we need to hear. In the wake of much violence and hate in the media, the concept of love for the neighbor is crucial. Many teenagers have committed suicide because of bullying in school. People fall victim to senseless violence and tragedy. How do we show our love for our neighbor? There is a song by the popular group The Black Eyed Peas called “Where is The Love.” That is a question that needs to be asked right now. There’s a part of their song that says, “Whatever happened to the values of humanity? Whatever happened to the fairness and equality? Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity, lack of understanding, leading us away from unity.” It gets frustrating to hear over and over again the violence and hate that is present in this world. “Where is the love” is indeed a pertinent question.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, let us take time every day to remember the love that God has for all humanity; that God would send God’s only son to die for us. Let us show that love to our neighbors in our words and our actions and remember why we are able to love in the first place.

“We love because God first loved us.” (John 4:19).