Monday, February 14, 2011

All you need is love

"All you need is love." These words said by John and Paul. No, not the apostles but the Beatles. Their song speaks of the fact that there's nothing else you need in the world but love. Love is all you need. And why do I bring this up? Because today is Valentine's Day. And all the single people out there say "Yippee!" (some say it sarcastically...well, many single and those with significant others say it sarcastically).

Have you ever stopped and wondered why in the world would we celebrate love in a cold month? Well, maybe you have ideas of your own, but I'm not going there.

One of the stories I really like about Valentine's Day is in reference to a 3rd century priest who believed in love. Apparently, as the story goes, The Roman Emperor Claudius II felt that young men who were married mad for lousy fighters. They didn't want to die because they had families at home. They didn't want to go on long campaigns in far distant lands because they had families at home. And so, in short, they didn't have their heart in it. So, if someone had nothing to live for, they were more apt to fight with all they had. Valentine was a priest who didn't like this, so he secretly married young couples together. Claudius found out about it and had him arrested.

Now according to a 13th century book on the saints of the church called The Golden Legend, Valentine was executed on February 14. According to, while in prison, young couples he had secretly married placed roses, thank you notes and gifts through his jail window. In a video from (which can be seen here, but note, some other info as well is shown which some may not always agree with)it states that Valentine had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter and that, on the night before he was executed, he sent her a love note signed "from your Valentine." Hence the tradition to give notes to loved ones on February 14.

Now, that's sweet and all, but makes me want to gag sometimes.

Sorry, I'm a cynical Gen-Xer and I'm not always trusting on things that are all happy sappy. Sorry if I've offended.

True love, true unrequited amazing love, isn't about roses and notes and gifts and chocolate (but don't get me wrong..I love me some gooood chocolate) it is about our relationship with our God and with each other.

Paul writes in his famous passage on love that

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

The word for "love" here is agape (aw-gaw-pay). It means an unconditional amazing, one of a kind, I-love-you-because-of-no-other-reason-but-you-are-you type of love. One of the first phrases I learned in modern Greek was s'agga po (saw-gah-poh) which means "I love you." And this is the love we need to have for God, for each other, and most importantly ourselves.

Yeah, that's right, I'm getting all pop psychology here, but truly, we need to love our selves as God loves us. If we can't even do that, we're doomed. If, as Paul and John say, "all we need is love" then we need to start with ourselves and move outward, let it move outward in such away that you overflow with a love of God for yourself (not selflessness but a true understanding of God's love) and be passed on to others.

How can you show this type of love to someone today?

Okay, no more deep thoughts from this Spiritual Musclehead today.

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