A True Valentine
Valentine, Martyr
14 February 2019
Valentine's Day often makes foolish God's gift of marital love, and perhaps there is a place for this foolish and light-hearted approach to love. God too has given us laughter. Yet, this should not blind us to the serious nature of human love and its corollary, marriage. Although we might seldom concur with his sentiments, Frank Sinatra sang it correctly, "Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage." True love expresses itself most fully in the marital union of one man and one woman in the holy estate of marriage.
 
In our oversexed culture there is a great need to reiterate God's praise of marriage and its joys and sorrows. Marriage is the warp and woof of community and government. It is the most basic building block of civil society. It is the gift of God that is the foundation of every other earthly good and blessing. Life together in marriage often brings great joys and also sorrows to the couple that God has joined together.
 
Life and death, health and sickness, better and worse, and wealth and poverty all live together in marriage. The bed of roses also includes thorns. Those thorns tell us about the decline of the world. But, they also point us to a community beyond sex and marriage. Now we certainly live where there is freedom to marry or to remain single; and to do either in purity with a clear conscience. But let us not be deceived about the crosses that God sends to both marriage and the single estate. They are crosses that He sends, and so we embrace them as signs of His grace. The true "Valentine" is the man who can keep silent when necessary and suffer for the sake of his wife and children. After all, the original Valentine was a martyr. When he does this, it will be a happy Valentine's Day indeed.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

  Martin Luther
"Neither marrying nor not marrying is a sin. The apostle's prime concern (in 1Co 7:27-28) is to instruct the conscience and secondly to say what is proper here on earth and for the best. And he emphasizes with very sober words why it is better not to marry and says: 'Those who marry will have worldly troubles.' This is the song that the whole world sings, recites, and writes about married life: that nobody should marry if he wants peaceful days, and there is much effort and many evil days in that estate which the unmarried are spared. I shall not try to relate the sorrows of married life, for I am told that I know nothing about it and have not experienced it (Luther was not married until two years later).
 
"Very well, then, but I believe St. Paul in this matter. Furthermore, I know of these sorrows from the Scriptures. The first evidence is when God says to Adam: 'By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food' (Gn 3:19) and 'Through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life' (Gn 3:17). Here the curse is laid upon man that he must feed himself and his wife, and his faith is put to the test, for 'poverty is pain.' In this same category belong misfortune with servants, danger to cattle and property, and finally the cunning and deceptions of those with whom he must live and associate. For often one must practice concealment and hold one's tongue and put up with some very evil tricks, because one is bound to one's wife, all of which he would not suffer if he were free. For her part the wife has her own troubles, what with conceiving and bearing children, giving birth to them in pain, not sleeping at night, wearing herself out, and hurting what she most prizes, all of which she would not have to suffer if she would remain a virgin; and God said to her: 'With pain you will give birth to children' (Gn 3:16)."

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians, 7.27-28
1 Corinthians 13
 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  (ESV)
Prayer
O God, our dwelling place in all generations, look with favor upon the homes of our land. Embrace husbands and wives, parents and children, in the arms of Your love. Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with You; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For all confessional Lutherans everywhere, that they might remain faithful to the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
 
For all military personnel, especially Andrew Coulter, Jack Ogden, Troy Gaub, Heidi Baker, Robert Baker, Chaplain Donald Ehrke, and Alyssa Brim, that the holy angels would surround them in midst of their duty
 
For all doctors and other health professionals, that they would provide appropriate human care to those who are suffering bodily disease
Art: DAVID, Jacques-Louis Christ on the Cross (1782)

Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2019
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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