The Greatest Love

ZOE Thailand

Brightly colored Valentine’s Day cards, carved fruit, roses and flowers; these were just some of the items for sale at a small “pop up” shop that our vocational students organized as a part of their business management class last week.

“Hearts” are a common symbol of Valentine’s Day but often we don’t stop to think about what the true significance of this well-recognized image is.

My church pastor recently sent out a short history on the “heart” based upon a post from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It read:

Saint Valentine of Rome was a priest ministering to Christians living under persecution. The help he gave, made him deeply unpopular with the Roman authorities, and put his life in danger.

On top of this, Valentine defied the Emperor by secretly marrying Christian couples, which meant the husbands didn’t have to go to war.  To remind those soldiers, and persecuted Christians, of their vows – and of God’s unfailing love – Valentine is said to have given them hearts cut from parchment.  

For these acts among others, Valentine was martyred on February 14th, so Valentine stands as an icon of love not just for those in romantic relationships – but for those who suffer, those who are alone, those who are afraid, those who are in danger.

Many of us enjoy Valentine’s Day as a reason to celebrate the lives of those we love by making cards and gifting chocolates and flowers.

As we see the symbols of love all around this February, may we appreciate the beautiful reminder that God’s “heart,” represents a love for the persecuted, the downtrodden, and the poor.

We live in a lost and broken world, but His “heart” is for all.

God used a song to speak to us during our journey to come to work at ZOE. It was Hosanna (Hillsong), and in particular the lyrics,

“…Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours.

Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause…

Will you let your heart be broken by the things that break God’s?

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