Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and tomorrow is the first anniversary of this blog, so I thought I’d write this “Valentine” of appreciation to its nearly 200 subscribers and those additional readers who made more than 26,000 visits to “Progressive Christian Reflections” since February 16, 2011. Thank you!
Most of us know that Valentine’s Day, as we know it, owes much of its evolution to the entrepreneurs who wanted another holiday to sell cards, gifts, romantic dinners and occasions. But if yesterday you gave the one you love a card that said, “Exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day to show one’s love is a mythological ritual invented by capitalists and nothing to celebrate,” I would imagine you probably would have slept alone!
In an apparent play for sympathy from a spurned lover, a kind of Valentine found its way not long ago onto a marquee of a shut-down fast food place near our home. Due to weather and vandals, eventually only its central message remained: “That which is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“That which is essential is invisible to the eye”—love, faith, hope. The famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, concludes, “Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, and the greatest of these is love.”
Many people equate love with the infatuation we may immediately experience when we “fall in love” or when we “accept Jesus.” In The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris reports a Roman Catholic nun’s profound talk on celibacy. I was surprised to find in that context a near-perfect explanation of true love. She said, “I found that love starts when you see the real person, not the one you invented.” She learned this in the context of once becoming infatuated with a priest, and concludes, “I learned from this experience that it isn’t ‘how good you are’ that matters—I was still full of a romantic desire to be a ‘good nun.’ … What matters is not that you’re good but that you trust. I had trusted God…to see me through this.”
Love starts when you see the real person, not the one you invented. This is as true of God as it is of a person. Progressive Christians don’t love God less because we search for the essential; rather we trust God more.
Please do me a favor: if you have read any of my books, please go to my book page on Amazon, click on the book cover, then "customer reviews," then "create your own review" and offer your rating and review (a sentence or more). This will balance out a couple of unusual reviews! Thank you!