“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, and I was interested in the history of the holiday.  NPR shared that we can trace the holiday back to the Romans.  From February 13th – 15th the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia.  What happened during Lupercalia?  Well, “The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.”*  Folks would be drunk and naked when this happened and the women would line up to be hit with the hides because it was believed that it would make them fertile.  There was also part of the festival where young men would draw women’s names from a jar and then they would be “coupled” until the end of the festival (or longer if things worked out).

Well . . . huh.  This is awkward.  It’s certainly something to think that Lupercalia is what likely began our modern day of love.  Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia in the fifth century (and tamed it a bit).  Though the celebration remained a day of fertility and love.

I don’t know if you adore Valentine’s Day or think it’s all a bunch of sentimental nonsense (or anything in-between). 
Personally I’m just feeling thankful this week that the day has evolved from its possible Roman beginnings!  
It’s worth remembering this week (yes amid the candy, flowers, and paper hearts) that God is love and love is from God as the writer of 1 John wrote in the New Testament.
We remember that there are many forms of love and we are called as Christians to love one another. 
You are a beloved child of God! 
(Oh and all those hearts full of chocolate candies are now majorly discounted, so take advantage of that before Lent begins if you want).

Pastor Lauren 

*Arnie Seipel, “The dark origins of Valentine’s Day”, NPR, Updated February 14, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Thursday Thoughts 2/16/23