SERMON TITLE: “In Remembrance of Love”
SERMON TEXT: Mark 12:28-31; Mark 14:3-11
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: February 7, 2021, at First UMC
Now that we’re in the month of February, I thought I should preach a couple sermons on the topic of love. And, since I couldn’t remember, I looked up the history of Valentine’s Day. What I found is that the tradition of Valentine’s Day developed over centuries without a clear historical source. But there are a number of theories. The origins might go back to two or three Christian leaders by the name of Valentine who were martyred for their faith in the late 200s. One of those men is said to have died on February 14. Those Christian martyrs were later remembered and extolled for their Christian faithfulness and their love for God.
Stories about the saints often got amplified to legendary levels in the retelling, but the story of one of those martyrs indicates that—while Valentine was in jail, before he was killed—he miraculously healed his jailer’s daughter of her blindness. Once she could see, he then wrote a letter to her and signed the letter, “Your Valentine.” There’s no clarity about what kind of affection was intended. It might have just been kindly friendship. But, by the 1300s, the poet Chaucer had connected Valentine’s Day, the mating of birds in early spring, and thoughts of romance. By the late 1700s in England, there was a book of sentimental love poems called The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. The book was meant to provide words for young men who were struggling to express their romantic feelings. And, by the early 1800s, factories were mass producing Valentine cards—all in honor and remembrance of love.1
Whether we’re talking about love of God, neighbor, enemy, friend, that romantic special someone, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or the Kansas City Chiefs, love is worth celebrating. Maybe that’s why Jesus defended a woman who poured ointment on his head. So let’s see what we can learn from Mark chapter 14’s story in remembrance of love.