A Valentine for the Church
It is that time of year when love is at the fore of our minds. We make reservations for nice dinners, buy expensive flowers and cards and gifts, and get all dressed up for a night with our significant other. As we sit at the dinner table, staring longingly into each other’s eyes, we forget everything else and dwell contentedly in the now. It is then that we notice how beautiful she is or how handsome he looks and how much we love one another.
Then our minds wander as we consider everything that has built up to this moment. The wedding day was wonderful, but then we made our home and raised a family together. Between then and now there were plenty of disagreements, messes, poopy diapers, visits with the in-laws, bills that could barely be paid, losses of pets, passing of parents, and children moving out and starting their own lives. It was a difficult road, but as we sit and ponder the journey, our hearts are comforted as we remember that we did it together. We feel fortunate for that love sitting across the table from us and we do not know where we would be without him or her.
Very few relationships are that intimate. Few seem so worthy of enduring in the same way that a marriage should, yet when Christ established His Church, His intentions were precisely that we would bear with one another in love. As we live and die, we do so together because we are a family established by our Lord.
I find my Church family to be one of my favorite relationships. My brothers and sisters in Christ have encouraged me when I have been discouraged. They have reminded me of God’s love when I have felt unlovable. They have given me scriptural advice when I have not known what to do. They have held me accountable when my steps have veered from the path that God has set for me.
My relationship with the Church is very similar to the one described above. It has been forged through the fires of difficulty, but it is something that I look upon with great fondness. That is why I write this Valentine for the Church. I do not know where I would be without the family of God walking beside me, which is why I am so eager to do my part to build her up and help her accomplish her mission.
I cannot thank the Church enough for all that she has done for me, and I cannot thank my Lord enough for blessing me with her. All that I can say is that I love my Lord and I love my Church, and I hope that the Church of which I am a part can continue to do these things for others and so continue to build up the family of God.