Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Obligatory Valentine’s Day story

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It’s Valentine’s Day… again. Just like we just celebrated Groundhog Day… again.

I hated Valentine’s Day for 18 years, between the ages of 11 and 29. When I was 11, my mom insisted that I take valentines to our sixth grade class. That was the first year that it was not mandatory that you bring one for everyone in the class. So, after I passed out all the cards, I got back to my desk and found it empty.

It was then that I decided to dedicate my life to spreading fear to criminals everywhere, but I realized that I needed a symbol… the symbol of… A BAT!

(cue the windows crashing and bats flying in)

…ahem.

Anyway, I didn’t really care much about Valentine’s Day after that. I started dating my Nintendo by the time I was in high school, and I knew it loved me no matter what (except when it got testy and I had to blow in the cartridges).

Even when I became an adult and all my married/attached friends tried to either hook me up for V-Day (how losertastic) or repeated that tired cliché, “You’ll find the right one someday,” it started gnawing at me a little that I was a semi-responsible adult that couldn’t get a date. Speaking of clichés, that was the plot of 1/3 of the romantic comedies of the last decade.

Until I met the One.

I bet you think you know who the One is, but it’s not my wife. Erika plays an integral part of the story. She introduced me to the One and took me to be with the One. She talked to me about the One. She told me how important the One was to her. But, she wasn’t the One.

She was, however, a missionary dater, which every preacher I’ve ever heard says is a no-no. Maybe I’m the exception that proves the rule.

The One is God’s valentine to the world. He loved us so much that He died on a cross… And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8)

…suffered unimaginable agony… From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matt 16:21)

…felt sorry for us even when we mocked and reviled Him… And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Luke 23:34-38)

That is true love… “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:12-15)

If you haven’t received this valentine, it is my hope today that you do.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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