The day of love is fast approaching.  St. Valentine’s Day is coming.  The historical Valentine (or Valentines) are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty.  None the less, this day emphasizes romantic love.  The celebration is a bitter-sweet one.  It reminds us of love that may be in the present and in full bloom or present only in broken dreams and hearts.  These celebrations are not always easy.  Nothing that truly matters is easy. 

Facing each day requires effort and focus.  All of us have responsibilities to ourselves and others.  Regardless of your age, station or talent, the next day is coming.  What else is coming is Sunday (or Saturday) as we join together as a church family.  It is the time we remember love – the love of God and Savior.   We gather to worship to remember that such a love is in the world and can be shared. 

It is not only to remember, but to celebrate.  As Christians, we are given a perspective that goes beyond the sad and shallow.  The world and our lives can be very dark.  Being a disciple does not just wipe away our challenges or hurts, nor discount that they matter.  Instead, we can recognize a hope and strength that comes from beyond us. 

The recipients of the Letter to the Hebrews were new to following Jesus and were also experiencing persecution because of their faith.  The author of the letter writes to encourage them to remain faithful.  Towards the end of the letter, he shares some advice on how that faith is lived out.

“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. 

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.  Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” 

Keep the Faith,

Pastor John