Some say Valentine’s Day is a made up celebration by the floral and card companies in order to make sale in an otherwise devoid month of any “holidays” or “special occasions.”
I say any excuse to celebrate “love” is worthy. Now how we choose to do so can be up for discussion.
While gifts are one way to show love, they are not the only way or some would even say they are not the best way. We can celebrate with gifts of all kinds like flowers and candy and cards as gifts for Valentine’s Day. Even those are given with some thoughtfulness. It is more the thought put into a gift that provokes the most joy.
A handmade gift from my grandson is worth a great deal to me. The effort and thought put into it by him is what counts as love in my eyes.
But we can combine gifts of cards, flowers or candy with something else. Whether a purchased or handmade gift, we can also take the time to pray for them and then send a quick email or text letting them know you remembered them in your prayers. It’s not bragging if done from a heart of servanthood to that person from a place of love.
It will show the other person that you were thinking about them and brought them before God with love and attention. You shared your love for them with God. You shared your time with God with them.
That, my friends, is a great gift.
Dear God, who is love, show us how to love more perfectly. Help us to remember those near to us when we come to you in prayer. Let our time be about others and not solely about us. When sometimes thoughts and prayers can seem like empty sentiments, help us to revive the power of prayer. Amen.
A New Psalm
Lord of Heaven and Earth
We stand before you vulnerable and confused.
We are overwhelmed by it all.
Lord help us!
Hear our cry, oh God!
Leave us not alone here.
We wrestle with all that is going on around us:
The persecution of our fellow Christians,
The bombing of families with children,
The trafficking of women into sexual slavery,
Floods and wildfires,
Large and small scale acts of violence and desecration.
There is so much to wear us down.
Yet we know you are God,
You are the Most High.
It is into Your hands we put ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
We pray and You hear.
We listen and we do.
And though it may seem our little acts have no effect,
We believe that a thousand ripples can cause a tidal wave
Of love that can wash away all that is not Your will.
Praise be to our God!
In the Midst of It All – A Faithful Response to the Orlando Shooting
Recently, we have been inundated with news of events that shock us. Fifty killed in Orlando shooting, a father in Colorado who challenged his daughter to a gun duel, party-goers being shot at randomly. These shocking events are happening around the country…it is happening in your neighborhood. People are afraid. People of faith are trying to figure out not only what is going on, but what to do about it. When you check social, print and broadcast media you hear politicians, activists and citizens of the world give their opinion on how to respond to the violence that intrudes our daily living. Our United Methodist news service offers some practical ways that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, can respond to the news of random and planned shootings.
But in the midst of it all, what do we do right now? What do we really need to do? Prayer is one immediate and faithful response to things as menacing as the acts of violence against each other.
Prayer is our answer. We do not know the hearts of the people who conduct such violent acts against other people. We do know that through prayer, our souls are comforted and we gain strength to be a comfort to others who hurt. Through prayer, as we learn in 1 Chronicles 16:11 which reads “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! – and pray”, we look to the Lord for strength.
We do not always have the answers to life’s most difficult question – the question of “why” something happens. But I do know that through prayer, we can gain the strength and purpose to move forward in peace and love and to learn how to be a citizen in our world. Through prayer, we can impact the lives of others in such a way that some of the senselessness of our surroundings begin to change for the better. Through prayer, we seek God’s help in times of trouble. Psalm 34:17 reads “when the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” These are troubling times. But God is our strength and our help.
Even in the midst of it all, when we pray, we change things.