February is more than just a valentine: How might love change you and your community?
With the approach of Valentine’s Day, it is a sure sign that love is in the air. Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem “Parliament of Fowls” is the first to link the medieval belief of birds choosing their mates to the date of February 14. From that grew the holiday we now know, but behind these traditions is St. Valentine, a cleric who served persecuted Christians and was himself martyred that day.
February is Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson chose February to connect with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation with Douglass’ abolitionism, preaching, and advice helped them bring justice to the oppressed. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, preacher, and advisor to President Lyndon Johnson, inherited Lincoln and Douglass’ work. King with Johnson helped bring justice to the oppressed. Love was behind King’s efforts serving the persecuted and led to him being martyred.
Love shaped King’s entire approach to nonviolent resistance. He believed love was the only key to lasting change. He told opponents he would meet their hatred with a strong, demanding love. That even after jail, and bombs, and threats, and beatings—that he and his followers wouldn’t be brought down so low as to hate their oppressors. And in the process of loving them, the hearts of their oppressors could be changed to love as well. He knew hatred wrecks individuals and nations, and that unconditional love for all was necessary for humanity’s survival. Not an affectionate or romantic love, but a love demanding justice for the oppressed.
He wrote in The Power of Nonviolence, “The only way to ultimately change humanity and make for the society that we all long for is to keep love at the center of our lives.”
How might love change you and your community?
Rev Sybrant has a Masters in Divinity, Social Work, and a Doctor of Ministry. For more information, visit us at 15050 SW Weir Road www.murrayhills.org | 503-524-5230