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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Feel the Lurve - Guest Post by Rev Richard Littledale

Since Christians believe that “God is love”, you would have thought Valentines would be the easiest time of year for a minister like me to get the message across wouldn’t you?

The trouble is, the mixture of fluffy nonsense and blatant vulgarity on offer in the high street seems like such a long way from what love is all about, at least to me. Last time I looked the only truly meaningful gift I could find was tucked away in a New Age shop surrounded by faeries on one side and magic stones on the other. It was a candle beautifully embossed with the words of the Bible’s most famous segment on love’ – 1 Corinthians 13:

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am nothing”

Those who are familiar with that bit of the Bible will know that it doesn’t leave it at that. It goes on to describe the kind of behaviour which defines love. In the end it is the deeds we perform, the words we speak, and the things we choose to remember or forget which bring love into sharp relief.

Whatever is going on in the high street shops, I am delighted that this year’s Valentines festivities give all kinds of opportunities to express real, practical, love for others. At one end of the scale, you could make sure that any chocolates you buy for the one you love are fairly traded. At the other you could join in with a project like Treat Someone Special, where the card you buy automatically generates a card to the government, urging the Prime Minister to honour pledges on people trafficking. This could be a good time of year to sign up to Toilet Twinning too – showing some practical love. What better time of year to recognise the true value of a human being than this weekend, when ‘lurve’ is in the air?

I suppose the worst thing about Valentine’s gifts and cards is …not getting one. It can be a painfully exclusive time of year. It needn’t be, though. Some years ago I was in Chicago at this time of year, and people bought Valentines’ gifts for everyone from work colleagues to Great Aunts. This year you could tell someone, somewhere in the world that they are loved – by buying their goods, sending them a card, or even paying for clean water and sanitation for them.

One of the more unusual Valentine’s gifts I saw in a Chicago supermarket was a roll of “romantic” toilet paper – a bit like that pictured below. Not sure about that as a romantic gesture somehow – think I’ll stick to something more positive.

Head over to Rev Richard's own blog for more romantic thoughts!

(Images from suarahati-youngscholar.blogspot.com and toxel.com)

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