Preparing for Worship

by | Feb 12, 2021 | Preparing For Worship

Leanna Coyle-CarrPreparing for Worship – Leanna Coyle-Carr, pastoral resident. 

Pre-pandemic, St. Valentine’s Day was a day for greeting cards, fancy dinners, cut flowers and weighty expectations. Quarantine, however, makes a lot of that simply out of the question. Even those of us who jump at any excuse to spoil our loved ones are faced with a necessary circumstantial interruption. There is no “business as usual” right now. We are all just trying to survive.

Worship today is not about supporting a status quo, of course. It is not about St. Valentine, either, but about the one to whom every saint’s life points: Jesus—Love Incarnate, Love Divine, our Lifeline in every circumstance. We worship this Christ and practice trusting his love for us this St. Valentine’s Day. And somehow, as is the case most Sundays, we find that we are a little freer to love back.

Worship today lets brother Valentine’s feast be what it is always meant to be: a chance to love God, neighbor and ourselves more deeply and more truly. How good it is to be surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, Wilshire. We may be isolated and quarantined, but we are not alone.

The church remembers the legends of St. Valentine, a third century bishop who defied imperial orders against marriage. It seemed at the time that Roman soldiers killed and conquered better when they were not attached to loved ones at home. Valentine, however, knew there was something vital and sacred about recognizing marriage. He met lovers in secret to help them say their vows. He was eventually imprisoned and killed for it. They say that while awaiting execution, Valentine became friends with the jailer’s family. They wrote notes back and forth, his celebrating the love of his Lord and always signed “Your Valentine.”

We may not be able to gather around pink punch bowls or treat our favorite folk to a nice dinner out, but we are able to celebrate Love today. We can celebrate Valentine’s example and those of others who, like him, challenged the devastating powers of darkness with the light of divine love. In worship, we find ourselves in their ranks, ready to defy evil with the gifts of Love.

The pandemic makes it impossible to do our Valentine’s business as usual, but with God nothing is impossible—and nothing is lost. Even a seemingly cheapened holiday can be transfigured by the wonders of God’s love.