February’s column from the Bradley Stoke Churches.
By Tim Sunderland, Bradley Stoke Evangelical Church.
Apparently (as one story goes) back in the third century AD the Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he thought married men made bad soldiers. Valentine, a priest in Rome, thought this was a bad idea and secretly arranged marriages. When he was found out, he was put in jail and sentenced to death. Whilst in jail he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. On the day he was taken to be executed (14th February) he wrote her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’. And so we continue the tradition of letting others know, sometimes secretively, that we love them.
Maybe you’ll be preparing for Valentine’s Day or wondering what you can write in a card to express your love. It might surprise you to know that there is a book of the Bible (Song of Songs) that is entirely love poetry. It celebrates and expresses the deep love experienced between a man and his soon-to-be wife. For those who have known this love, it is a very special, powerful thing. Our society knows it, Hollywood thrives on it, and many of us long for true love.
Sadly, not everyone knows such love but this love expressed in Songs of Songs is meant to point us to a greater love that all of us can know. The Bible talks of God’s love for his people being like a bridegroom’s love for his bride. It says Jesus is like a bridegroom who would do anything for his bride, even when she didn’t return the love he showed. God showed his love by sending Jesus into the world, to die in our place, to bring us forgiveness and bring us into the love of God. There is nothing better, surer, or purer than God’s love for us, and we can all experience it.
If you would like to know more of God’s perfect love why not come along to one of our churches, or why not sign up for one of our ALPHA courses? These courses are an excellent way to explore the Christian faith and ask the big questions about life in a relaxed environment. There are two courses starting this month. The courses start with a session to give you a flavour of what to expect, they’re free and you are under no obligation to continue with the whole course.
- Tuesdays from 4th February, 7.30pm, at Holy Trinity Church
- Wednesdays from 5th February, 7.45pm, run by City Church, Bradley Stoke (For more information please visit www.citychurch.org.uk/alpha)
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