With one eye on the Super Bowl last Sunday, we addressed and stuffed our Valentine cards and letters to friends and family across the country, beyond our shores, and from across the years.
This annual ritual includes sending a card and letter to childhood friends and adults who guided us in those years, travelling companions, college and graduate school classmates, former neighbors and colleagues, mother, aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers and cousins, scout leaders, and a few about whom I have to pause and think, "Where did we first meet?" There are a few addresses for which I pause and remember someone who has died, and a few far along in years for whom I am grateful will still smile at getting a Valentine in the mail. Every year, I think, “Let's not bother this year,” but then the cards and letters come in at Christmas, and it's such a delight to catch up. Children have grown, jobs have changed, people have moved, some have stayed in the same place, new hobbies and pursuits are mentioned and joys and sorrows shared. Sending cards and letters in this email, Facebook age may be a bit old-fashioned, but a treasured tradition that reminds me of all the saints of my life, and how blessed I am by them.
The recent lectionary passage was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
What a time to celebrate God's great gift of love to us, and ours to each other.
Happy Valentine's Day!