Lenten Valentine


Text: Luke 4:1-13
Full Sermon Draft

Easter is so early this year we have an odd confluence. The first Sunday in Lent happens to be Valentines Day. So this sermon attempts to reclaim a bit of St. Valentine for the church.

The traditional text for the first Sunday in Lent is the temptation of Jesus. We read the rest of Luke chapter 4 just a couple of weeks ago. The entire chapter in my reading is an interesting study on our three great enemies: the devil, the world and our sinful natures. What today’s text does, much like a couple of old testament texts (Adam and Eve & Job), is give us a view of that first enemy, Satan. It lifts the veil to the reality behind those temptations.

On a literal level of the story, this temptation is the reversal of that one in Eden. But the devil withdraws until the appointed time. That appointed time is a temptation not like Adam and Eve, but like Job. The devil’s two forms of trial – enticement and suffering. But both forms are based on the lie that God does not love us. The cross is Jesus demonstration once for all that He does. The cross stands as God’s complete gift of love, a complete giving of himself.

And that is where we start to move from lent to Valentine. Love is a giving of ourselves. In this world that love might not come back. But love is never lost, because it all finds its fulfillment in Christ. St. Valentine is an example of such love. The reason Valentine is a saint is because he was a martyr. He loved God and the people he was bishop too enough to witness, in red blood. Valentine gave himself away. in such love. But it is only in so losing our life, a life expended in self-giving love, that we actual find it. We find that all that love have been made full in Christ.

Worship note. The hymn of the day in the recording is Lutheran Service Book 424, O Christ You Walked the Road. Unfortunately the text is again copyrighted, but here is a source that has the words. I always find this tune a haunting introduction to lent and an invitation to live the love that Christ has shown us.

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