Valentine's Day Sermon
Can any of you tell me what we celebrate on February 14th? That's right,
Valentine's Day. If a person is your Valentine that means they are the one you love the best! Now, can anyone tell me how
Valentine's Day started?
There was a priest by the name of Valentine
. He lived in Rome about 250 AD. That was a long, long, time ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor by the name of Claudius. Some people called him Claudius the Cruel. St. Valentine didn't like Emperor Claudius, and he wasn't the only one! A lot of people felt the same way. Claudius wanted a big army. He thought men should volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and girlfriends. So, not many men signed up to fight. This made Claudius mad. So do you know what he did? He had a crazy idea that if men were not married, they would not mind joining his army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages.
Young people thought his new law was really cruel. Valentine thought it was ridiculous! Because, one of his favorite jobs as a priest was to marry people.
Well, after Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine secretly performed marriage ceremonies. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside. One night, he did hear footsteps. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death. Valentine tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what happened? Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell. They often sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies. On the day he was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, "Love from your Valentine."
That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember Valentine, who became known as "Saint Valentine." But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh -- because they know that love can't be beaten!
Love is very important. The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), and 1 John 3:18 says, "My children, our love should not be only words and talk. Our love must be true love. And we should show that love by what we
God showed His love for us before we were even born. John 3 verse 16 tells us, that God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. He sent His only son to be tortured to death so we could live in heaven with Him forever. He did this for everyone, before we were even born. Our words have to match our actions if we really mean them. Romans 5 verse 8 tells us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. In this way God shows his great love for us. But how do we show our love for Him? The Bible tells us lots of ways we can show God our love, since he has first loved us. When we listen carefully to what the Bible tells us, we learn that we can love God best by loving other people. This is something that Pastor __________ often says when preaching the sermon to the whole congregation. Do you think the people in our congregation agree when they hear the pastor say that we need to show our love to God by loving other people? (Let them answer.) I do too. I think everybody here agrees with that. Sometimes they say, "That was a good sermon. You are exactly right. We really do need to treat other people with love."
Now, let me ask you a question. Suppose we had a sermon today about how we should show our love for God by loving others. Then, at the end of the sermon, the pastor asked all the people in the congregation who agreed with what he said to hold up their hands. Sort of a vote to see who agreed with what he said in the sermon. And suppose every single hand went up. That would make the pastor feel good. For one thing, it would tell him that the people had all been listening. And, it would tell him that people were agreeing with what the Bible says, because they are voting in favor of those ideas. But then suppose that everyone got up and walked out without shaking hands or smiling or anything. And then they all got in their cars and drove off snarling and shaking their fists at each other as they left the parking lot. What would you think of that? (Receive answer.)
Well, it might mean that everyone had forgotten his or her manners at once. But I doubt it. That would tell me that everybody was willing to talk about loving others, but not ready to do anything about it. To do something about it, we need to treat others the way the Bible tells us we should. It means to go out in our daily lives and treat people the way we want to be treated, with love. We know God loves us from the way He treated us from the very beginning.
St. Valentine backed up his belief with action, even though he knew he could die for doing it. Let us also show God how much we love Him, by loving others.
Let's pray. Thank you God for letting me be your Valentine. Amen.
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