Koloa Union Church Vision Update

A Message From Our Kahu

“Lenten Love”

No one has greater love than this,

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

(John 15:13)

As I began looking at the worship schedule for the new year back in

December, one of the first things I noticed was that Lent begins this year on Valentine’s Day. That’s right: Valentine’s Day is also Ash Wednesday! My first thought was, “This just doesn’t feel right at all.” (Frankly, I am still trying to get used to it!) However, the more I thought about what these two “holy days” stand for, the more it made sense to me that they actually have something to do with each other.

On the Feast Day of St. Valentine, we honor this Roman saint, who was born some 200 years after Jesus died, and known as a fearless promoter of Christianity. He ministered to persecuted Christians and was later persecuted himself. According to legend, Valentine was arrested for advancing the Christian faith and placed under arrest. The wealthy judge who oversaw his case told him that he would grant him any wish if would restore his blind daughter’s sight. After miraculously giving the girl the gift of sight, Valentine asked the judge to convert to Christianity. The judge replied by smashing all of the idols in his home, freeing all of the Christian inmates under his authority, and baptizing his entire household. Upon being arrested again, Valentine was ordered to renounce his faith by the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Refusing to do so, the emperor sentenced Valentine to death. The execution took place on February 14, 269. Before he died, it is said that Valentine wrote a note to the formerly blind daughter of the aforementioned judge and signed it “from your Valentine,” which inspired lovers to send notes to each other with the same signature.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, which is a time of prayer, fasting and personal reflection before Holy Week and Easter. Christians are invited to ponder the love of God which is demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and to consider how to be more faithful and committed to God because of such great love.

So these two “holy days” actually do have a lot to do with each other. They both remind us of the importance of reflecting upon love and commitment. Beginning on Valentine’s Day / Ash Wednesday this year, let us be especially mindful of God’s unconditional and eternal love for all people and how we might be more open to receiving and giving love, remembering the depth of God’s love as demonstrated in Jesus:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another
as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you
do what I command you. 
(John 15:12-14)

Aloha Nui Loa!