The poetry you won’t hear on Valentine’s Day
Today we are supposed to be lost in the language of love and to be lost in the arms of our significant other. True love is represented by a red rose, white dress and couples brunch on a Saturday morning. And poetry. After all - ‘My love is like a red red rose’.
The lie that you are worthless unless in a pair easily seeps into Christianity. Marriage as a God given, good institute, can become an idol built up of false expectations. To say that coupledom is the be all and end all of life is to sell short the true definition of love.
Love, according to the Bible, is most purely expressed in God’s response to his own people. Our worth is found in God’s love for us and there is deep poetry in that way that is described.
The Bible shows love is about sacrifice.
There are some powerful ways that love is explored in the bible. One is the love of a Father to a disobedient, orphaned child. The language of adoption is prevalent throughout the bible. When John describes Jesus coming to the world, he writes that despite rejection from the world “all who did receive Him, he gave the right to be children of God”. God loves us when we have nothing to offer Him.
Another powerful way the Bible points us to God’s love is through the metaphor of a romantic relationship, in which God has been cheated on by his people. Throughout the Bible, marriage is used to symbolise God’s relationship with his people. But when you read Hosea, it becomes clear that as his people we have profoundly betrayed him. God loves us when we have betrayed Him.
Hosea shows a relationship between a man and his “unfaithful wife” who has children with another man. These children are named Jezreel - after judgement - “not loved” and “not my people”. However, as part of his forgiving love, God promises to return to the unfaithful wife and adopt the children, renaming them “my people” and “my loved one”.
It is ultimately after Jesus that God’s promises to "be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters” [2 Corinthians 6:18] are completed.
If you are a Christian, you have already experienced the most amazing, sacrificial love in the whole world.
This is true love, a love which is unselfish and has nothing to gain. This is also true poetry - the language of love which we express in action. As well as a rose, why not share the Bible’s words this Valentine’s Day.
A prayer for valentines day
Thank you that you have showed us what true love is. Thank you that your character is true and loving.
Thank you that you came to us, when we had betrayed you and had nothing to offer. Thank you that you chose to intervene and bring us back into relationship with you.
We are sorry for the times we have betrayed you. Chosen our way instead of your way. We are sorry that we thought we would be better by ourselves. We are sorry for the times we have thought we can do things on our own.
Thank you that you send Jesus to die on the cross for us.
Help us to respond to your love with dependence, joy and hearts that are full of love for you and each other.
In Jesus powerful name,