So, as legend has it Valentines Day is in fact an anti-war, anti-imperial holiday. During the reign of Claudius an edict went out throughout the land—men were not allowed to marry, because marriage causes a man to think about things other than serving the god-like forces of Empire as a soldier. You see, to the emperor the only worth of a person is as a tool to oppress and conquer others.
But one man stood against the madness of war, tyranny, and death—a priest named Valentine. He would meet young men and women who wish to tie the knot, and in a radical act of civil disobedience marry them!
Soon enough his illicit underground actions caught the attention of the authorities. He was arrested and brought before Claudius himself.
Claudius decided to be magnanimous—he would allow this foolish rebel-priest to convert to emperor worship.
As Claudius began to present the case for worship of the greatest power the world had ever known—the Emperor of Rome—Valentine looked up and said, “Have you heard of a man named Jesus.”
And with that Claudius ordered Valentine to be executed.
The night of the 13th of February, before the execution, the priest threw out one last bomb-shell for love and against war. He wrote a letter to the one he loved and signed it, “From your Valentine.”
So tomorrow—as you woo the one you love remember that love can be a radical act. Love can coincide with Christ’s calling to beat swords into plowshares and tanks into tractors.