Valentine: Finding love in season of blight
With so much discontent and chaos plaguing the world today, there is no doubt humanity needs the pure, genuine love Saint Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest espoused, when he fearlessly faced death for a cause he believed in. Unfortunately, many now tend to focus on the extraneous, when celebrating Valentine’s Day, while the real purpose is buried. But clerics are saying it will be more beneficial for all, if the spirit of true love is awakened during the festivity, while the sensual and commercial aspects are relegated to the background. So, how did churches celebrate the day? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘It’s A Fantastic Opportunity To Show love’
(Rev. Yomi Kasali, Senior Pastor, The Foundation of Truth Assembly, Lagos)
I KNOW Feb 14 is the global day of celebrating Love and Feelings between the opposite sexes. Many believers celebrate the day with their loved ones, and I sincerely don’t see anything wrong in observing the day.There are many pastors who lack theological depth and stay away from celebrating Love on that day. They simply say it’s not biblical, and I wonder if it is unbiblical to celebrate Love with your wife and perhaps someone you are engaged to marry.
The word biblical has been abused overtime, with many now using it when they want to affirm that it’s not in the Bible. Interestingly, this category of people celebrates Mother’s Day, Children’s Day, Father’s Day and Senior Citizen’s Day, among others. I am yet to see the passage in the Bible that instructs us to celebrate those days.
Some even take their religious eccentricity to the level where they say we should not celebrate Christmas and Easter, among others, yet they celebrate their conventions, anniversaries, bazars and conferences, among others. I’m yet to find those days in the Bible as well.
Valentine’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to show Love to your wife and those you love, such as your parents and siblings. I celebrate this day annually with my lovely wife, my two children (I love them dearly) and my siblings also. Our church will be celebrating Love with a special Couples banquet for married couples in church and a great Singles programme for the young and unmarried. There is nothing wrong in celebrating Valentine’s Day as a Christian because I don’t have ‘hate’ in my heart but ‘love.’ And I would love to share that Love with my loved ones. We don’t wear a particular dress on that day, but I’m really not against it. We wear attires in different colours and use red to celebrate love generally.
‘We Talk Christ’s Love Not Valentine’
(Rev. Mrs. Roselyn Oduyemi, General Overseer of Bethel Ministries, Lekki, Lagos)
WE don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Rather, we talk about the love of Christ. The Bible says, for God so loved the world… not as the world loves. It is the love of God that makes the difference in the life of anybody, and the love of God is centred round Jesus. Jesus is the Valentine we celebrate and for us, it is everyday and all year round. It’s not something of a day, but a relationship you have with Christ. We celebrate Valentine every day because it is the greatest love of all. Again, the Bible says, God Himself is love and that He gave…not giving of flowers, God gave His best for us to become His children.
For example, on that day, we’re going to organise a youth match and hold talk. All that is done to enable our members focus on the real thing, which is Jesus. Because that is the day so many people are involved in all manner of evil activities. We are keeping our members focused on Christ not because we are celebrating Valentine like the world is doing. If the church is doing anything on that day, it’s not because the church is celebrating Valentine. In fact, we’re going to invite other churches, and there will be a Chastity Match. We’re going to talk about the importance of remaining chaste and loving God. Everything is going to centre round Christ. On Valentine’s Day, people only show erotic love. The world has commercialised the day, and everything around it is nothing but money. It’s no longer on the real love, but buying flowers and gifts. Man should be able to buy flowers and gifts for his wife all the time, not just once in a year. A man should love his wife every day, not just once in a year. And so, we are using the occasion to keep our members away from the straight and narrow way and there’s nothing wrong about it.
‘We Use The Day To Promote Godliness, Love’
(Rt. Rev (Hon) Francis Ejiroghene Waive, General Overseer, Church of the Anointing, Warri, Delta State/Honourable member, Federal House of Representatives, Ughelli Udu Constituency)
YEARS ago, we never thought of celebrating Valentine’s Day in church, despite its supposed religious background. However, things have changed. Majority of our population are youths, and this generation is crazy about celebration. The church cannot stand by and see our young people swayed by the Western culture, drifting away from faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Recently, we began to organise events around Valentine’s Day, which promote godliness in love, relationship and marriage. Yearly, we include dinner, talk shows, counselling sessions, mentoring and film shows, among others. We ensure there are lots of music, food and drinks, as well as making the environment-youth friendly. In this way, we hope our young people will not be drawn to what the world has to offer – drugs, illicit sex, alcohol, violence and everything done in the name of celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Love is worth celebrating and true love is of God. Our young people should avoid abuse and preserve themselves for God and their future. As you make your bed, so you’ll lie on it. One day of lascivious living can mess up someone’s life forever. During the celebration of Valentine’s Day, we do not impose any dress code, except as usual that brethren be decently dressed. But most of our young people who attend wear white with a touch of red. We have not queried this, as we see it as part of their own way of celebrating.
‘No Other Love, Than Christ’s Love’
(Rev. Ben Eragbai founder and President of Divine Appointment Ministry Int’l (DAMI)
BEFORE you celebrate a particular event, you have to check its origin, where it is coming from and what the intention is. We know that it is not of God because the so-called love they are talking about, the love of Christ is Agape and His love is eternal. It’s not just a day that is set aside and you call it love day. We should show love all the time, not at a particular time of the year, when people commit all sorts of immorality.
On Valentine’s Day, many innocent girls are drugged and raped. On that day, many people are infected with HIV. So to me, it’s a wrong thing for Christians to be involved. But if you talk about us fixing a programme to gather our youths or singles to teach them what true love is all about, there is nothing wrong in a Church doing that on Valentine’s Day. However, people should not misinterpret it as if we’re celebrating worldly Valentine’s Day.
We’ve not really thought about fixing events on that day, but our events or programmes can fall on any day, including Valentine’s Day, just to prevent our youths from being lured on that day. We can do all that, but we don’t believe in it. Although he was a Christian and a priest, but he didn’t die for humanity like Christ did. There is no other deeper love than the love of Christ. The Bible says, for God so loved the world… But this one is Romeo and Juliet. The one I know is for God so loved the world… Romeo’s own shouldn’t erase what Christ has done for the world. Those who celebrate Valentine’s Day should remember that there is no other love than the love of Christ. It is the love that can save a sinner from spiritual death. They should also be careful not to fall into the hands of the enemy.