“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17: 7-9
Jeremiah, who lived in hope in a seemingly hopeless time, shares something rather profound about the nature of God’s love. We, who trust in God’s love, are claiming a life that is rooted, like Jeremiah’s tree “planted by water,” in a hope that can transcend the fear, anger, and partisan wrangling of our current time. A love that is patient and kind, a love that does not seek is own way, a love that values truth (thank you 1 Corinthians 13), is a love that is fed by faith in a loving God; it is a love that can water the dry desert of human longing.
Today is, of course, Valentine’s Day and pays homage, typically, to romantic love. I am all for that kind of love, as there is a woman in my life that I am rather fond of😊. But the tradition of St. Valentine is of a 3rd Century saint who married Christians at a time when Christians were being persecuted. Marrying a Christian might permit a man to avoid military service. The State (Rome) was not fond of Valentine’s activities and he was ultimately martyred on February 14, his feast day. Tradition also holds that Valentine, after he married a couple, gave them a cut out of a heart, to remind them not only of their love for each other, but of God’s enduring love in their marriage. God’s love, you see, can transcend our sometimes-tepid concept of love and embolden love and take it to a higher plain that is courageous, gentle, patient, and willing to endure all that life throws at it. Today may we remember someone who could be feeling unloved and share the hopeful love of God whose absence they may feel. “I leave you this final commandment: love one another.” So said our Lord, Jesus Christ.