We don’t really talk about Valentine’s Day all that much in church. Despite being a saint’s feast day in old Catholic traditions, that idea has mostly been consumed in the celebration of romantic (and somewhat capitalistic) love that defines the holiday now, which is exactly the sort of thing pastors tend to avoid beyond warnings against promiscuity and the like.
But I am starting to wonder if we did ourselves a disservice when we made that call, whenever it was made.
When we act as if romantic love and sex are outside of religious perview, we ignore huge sections of our scripture. Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs, as it is sometimes called) is entirely love poetry, to the point where one could argue that it is out and out erotica. The book of Ruth includes explicit advice for Ruth from her mother in law on how to get a man, and it isn’t about baking him the perfect casserole.
Paul was uncomfortable with sex and love, it is true, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be. And we catch story after story about sexual abuse maybe the lesson comes across that in ignoring positive teaching about sex, we have left a void that his been filled with something truly awful.
I don’t know what, if anything, will come of this. Don’t expect love letters in place of sermons, for instance, but perhaps this is something that needs to be thought about more within our context, or at least, no longer avoided.
Enjoy those chocolate hearts!