Every year when Valentine's Day approaches I inwardly groan. Not because I don't have a Valentine. I do and she is far beyond what I could have ever asked for or imagined. It is because I cannot think of anything clever or romantic to show her my love. It causes me a bit of anxiety.
This year the two came together. Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day. And what I see posted and written most is how Ash Wednesday is going to be difficult during a holiday known for its indulgence in chocolate and sweet things. All I can think about is our current culture and the climate of our society.
As I write this, it is only one day after 19 people were killed in a school shooting in Florida. We are close to war with Korea. Racism has risen in prominence. Our political landscape has more to do with what we think of the people in charge rather than what would be best for and ENTIRE nation. Selfishness is abounding. Words are hateful. Social Media posts are accusatory and judgmental. Racism is being defended. Sexual misconduct is being outed. An Olympic athlete wins gold in Winter Olympics at South Korea and all people want to fixate on is the fact that he accidentally dragged the flag on the ground and stepped on it. We love demonizing all sides that aren't ours. Capitalism is celebrated as our greatest victory or defeat. Refugees are being deported and walls are being planned to fence out our neighbors. We protest abortion and beg for capital punishment and call ourselves pro-life. Our answer to the world's problems, Nation's issues, or personal disputes is violence. We bail out corporations from debt and castigate those on welfare and do our best to block honest hard-working people from receiving a decent minimum wage, while hard-working CEO's receive millions in bonuses. We blame educational systems and teachers for declining education in our country and yet demand that only the rich should enter college or have those who cannot afford it, pay for college the rest of their lives. We claim freedom of religion when really it is just a freedom to practice Christianity. We talk down about other nations, especially 3rd world countries, and within their borders live an exceptional number of brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we fast, we fast for the good of others, just as Isaiah says:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
That will look much like LOVE!
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7-12
Don’t Give Up LOVE!