An odd title – let me explain! Today, of course, is Valentine’s Day, the special day for celebrating romance, the one day in the year when men make a special effort and then return to normal during the other 364 / 365 days.
‘Saint’ Valentine was apparently a priest who was beheaded on this day in around AD 270. However, it would seem that at least three different ‘Saint’ Valentines may have existed, all of whom were martyred (it’s probably a name to avoid when a baby is born).
Much more recently, on this day in 1929, seven men were murdered in Chicago as part of the gang warfare involving Al Capone, hence the term Valentine’s Day Massacre.
The name Valentine means worthy, strong, powerful and reminds me of our wonderful, heavenly Valentine, the Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly laid down His life – we could say was massacred – for us. His amazing love was not based on any ‘romantic’ feelings for us – indeed Paul talks about Jesus dying for us when we were ungodly, still sinners, even God’s enemies (Romans 5v6,8,9). The hymn writer Samuel Crossman expressed such love so well:
My song is love unknown; my Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake,
My Lord should take frail flesh, and die?
How should we respond to such love? Jesus said “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8v34) – surely a continual, deliberate killing of our selfish nature and desires, and not just on Valentine’s Day.
Peace and Grace
Happy Christmas! – Matthew 1 v 18 – 25
The righteous man
The remarkable method
The rescue mission
Some prayer pointers for the coming week
• For a deeper awareness and experience of Immanuel (God with us)
• For many to experience a true, saving encounter with Jesus Christ, to be baptised and added to the church over the coming months
• The weekly activities of the church including the homegroups and especially the new group meeting at Wickham Place, the Tuesday Fellowship, the 2030s group and the Mums and Toddlers groups
• Preparations being made for the next Sunday Fun and Sunday Fun Extra events on 20 March and exciting proposals for the establishment of monthly Sunday Fun Extras
• Nigel Stevenson as he preaches at CCBC next Sunday morning
• For those working in education, especially within CCBC, to enjoy real rest and refreshment during this half term break
• For Irene Oliver to continue to settle and be able to enjoy Christian fellowship in her new surroundings in Fareham
• Those with particular health issues including Valerie Baxter, Margaret Hutchins, Nancy Kasas, Leo Race, Sally Sinclair, Maria White and Miranda Cockin’s mother
• Helen and Andy Tyas as they fly to Kenya on Wednesday to serve with “Wheels for the World” (see separate notice)
• Jamie Broadey as he continues his studies at Moorlands Bible College, works for FACCTS and undertakes various projects here at CCBC
• The Ovendens serving with BMS in Uganda (especially for Lois who is pregnant) and Levi Booth working with OMF in Japan
• The Lord’s leading regarding outreach / mission in South Crookham and a Christianity / Discipleship Explored course(s) here at CCBC