Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrating Valentines at Chain of Lakes

Last night we had a fabulous Valentine’s Party at Chain of Lakes. I shared on my Facebook page that we had outstanding attendance (at least 30 people), tasty food, and lots of hearts.

Did we every have hearts! We ate meatloaf in the shape of a heart, plus mashed potatoes that were dyed red. On the table were heart shaped buns with butter that was shaped in a heart. We made Valentines that are now on a tree in our sanctuary. We shared with each other from our heart who and what we love. I dusted off my violin and played love songs. We even danced. I had to stop when the kids did the limbo--I'm not that flexible anymore!

It still amazes me that we’ve worshipped at Chain of Lakes for a little more than two months and still have this large of attendance at a Fellowship Event.

Why celebrate Valentine’s Day in the church?

Originally Valentines was a church holiday. Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name "Valentine" comes from valens means (worthy). The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I.

Chaucer first linked Valentine's Day with romance. In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.

In 1797 in England a man started composing love verses for people who couldn’t write them on their own. These verses became known as Valentine’s Cards. They first came to be popular in the early 1800’s in England.

In the United States, Esther Howland developed in 1847 a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards.

Valentine’s Day has become huge business. One billion Valentine’s Cards are purchased each year--85% of Valentine’s Cards are purchased by women. Valentine's Day is expected to generate some $15 billion in retail sales in the United States. The average U.S. consumer will likely spend $102.50 on Valentine's Day gifts, meals and entertainment.

Jesus taught that the whole of the law is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I think that any celebration that helps us love God and our neighbor is worthy of our effort in the church. I don’t know if the party we had at Chain of Lakes was what Pope Gelasius I had in mind when he established Valentines. I do know that over thirty people had the opportunity to grow in love for each other last night.

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