Welcome to Revd Sue's Message Page.

Dear Friends,

Having enjoyed the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany, the rest of the winter can, perhaps for some of us, seem cold, grey and long. In the church calendar we continue looking back to the coming of Jesus into the world, which we remember especially at Christmas, until 2nd of February, which is Candlemas. On that day we then begin to look forward to Lent, Holy Week and Easter.

Especially in the shops I notice now that the next occasion to be celebrated is St Valentine’s Day on 14th February. You may, like me, be in the habit of sending a card to your loved one to let them know how much you love them. But again, some people feel that this is a commercial day that is hyped in order for shops to be able to sell us more… of everything! I therefore decided it might be interesting find out more about St Valentine and his significance to love and finding a sweetheart. When looking into St Valentine in the Christian Church, I found that the name refers to two separate Valentines; one was a Roman priest who was martyred under Emperor Claudius in 269, the second was Bishop of Terni who was taken to Rome and martyred there. These stories may be based on legend, though there is probably some truth in them and it may just be that the stories really refer to a single person who lost his life because of his belief in Jesus Christ. I am sorry to say, though, I found no connection with courtship; on the contrary the customs we now associate with St Valentine’s Day are in fact either connected to a pagan festival or simply to the approach of Spring.

In the Church of England book of daily prayer, we remember two other Saints on 14th February, namely Cyril and his brother Methodius. These brothers lived in the 800s and became missionaries to the Slavs in Moravia, where they spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and led services for the people in the Slavonic language. So I may have been unsuccessful in finding a link with identifying a sweetheart for 14th February, but there is actually a link with love. These saints, be it Valentine, Cyril or Methodius all knew that Jesus Christ loved them and died for them and, believing this good news, they in turn loved Jesus and were prepared to dedicate their lives to serving Jesus even if this meant they had to die for him. This is a great love story and it’s one that is as real and relevant to us as it was to those ancient saints. So as 14th February approaches, who will you be declaring your love to? (whether or not you send a card or gift.) Perhaps it will be your spouse if you are fortunate enough to have one, but whether or not you have an earthly sweetheart, be assured that Jesus loves you more than you will ever know now and always and it’s wonderful to return that love.

Revd Sue.