A Valentine Quandary?

What’s a Christian to do? This is the day that millions of Christians around the world have not been looking forward to since 2018.  What normally marks a day of sweet confections, indulgence and celebration, many this morning were reminded of the hard truth; today is also a day of fasting and abstaining.  What is a Christian to do?? This has not happened since 2018, and it was not a happy day back then either.  It has only happened three times in the last century – 1923, 1934 and 1945 – and will happen again in 2029 for the final time this century.  For those who are still unaware, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day; today! For many of those reading this message, it means little to you. In fact, you probably had no idea, but to millions around the world, this is a real moral gut punch.  Today marks the first day of Lent.  For many Christians, it means attending Mass and receiving ashes on one’s forehead as a reminder of death. It is an act of remembrance and repentance.  The general guidelines for those that follow Lent encourages believers to give up indulgent items symbolizing Jesus’ sacrifice during the 40 days He spent in the desert enduring Satan’s temptation. 
But what to do when these holidays fall on the same day.  In our modern spiritual culture, the first thing many do is ask for a pass. Surely God will understand, right? Well, thankfully, wrong. Our local church does not follow the canonical calendar, but I have friends in ministry that do.  As predicted, several of the faithful have contacted their local church asking for a dispensation or exemption from following the guidelines of Lent. Can’t we move the date to Thursday? The answer has been a resounding “NO!” I love the way writer Simcha Fisher put it in an article addressing the issue in the Catholic church she attends. She writes, “The answer is, of course, you can’t, silly. Ash Wednesday is way more important than Valentine’s Day, so it gets first dibs on your time. If Valentine’s Day is important to you or to the person you love, there’s nothing wrong with that! You just move it, and celebrate it some other day. This is just what it’s like being an adult: Sometimes things just don’t work out, and you have to be flexible.” https://catholicreview.org/ash-wednesday-is-way-more-important-than-valentines-day-silly/
Asking for exceptions to the spiritual rules are nothing new. The religious leaders of Jesus time had made finding loopholes their full time job. By the time He appears in the New Testament timeline the rules had become so burdensome the people had forgotten why they were there to begin with.  One’s ability to not break a rule became the focus, instead of one’s desire to be obedient to God in following the rules.  When we lose the “why” it’s easy to come up with an alternative “how.”  When we start doing that we take God off the throne and replace Him with ourselves. When our heart is right, our devotion will be there too. 
Days like today are a great way to remind ourselves to not allow our practice of our faith to become legalistic.  Spiritual legalism is not attractive to anyone, in fact it’s repulsive.  And no one wants to be repulsive on Valentine’s Day, right?
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Serving the Savior, 
Bro. Jonathan 

No Comments





no tags