Joke of the Week. The thrill is gone.
Jim asked his friend, Tony, whether he had bought his wife anything for Valentine’s Day.
‘Yes,’ came the answer from Tony who was a bit of a chauvinist, ‘I’ve bought her a belt and a bag.’
‘That was very kind of you,’ Jim added, ‘I hope she appreciated the thought.’
Tony smiled as he replied, ‘So do I, and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now.’
Who was St. Valentine?
Valentine’s Day will come before next week’s blog is up. St. Valentine deserves to be remembered by lovers. Read about him below. This reading was copied from the Internet; I don’t vouch for every detail.
Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not.
Valentine was a Roman priest at a time when Emperor Claudius II persecuted the church. He also issued an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.
We must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived. Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. The church believed marriage was very sacred, between one man and one woman for their life, and that it was to be encouraged. That presented a problem to the Christian church of what to do about the emperor’s edict.
The idea of encouraging lovers to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of the emperor. In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to a young woman. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”
In our own day we need to imitate Valentine, and encourage our young people to marry rather than simply live together, and to marry in the Christian church. For Christian young people, that means marrying another believer.
No commercial break for Saluda Press this week.
Luther’s 95 Theses for 21st Century Christians
Here is the third of Luther’s theses.
3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He called the people to repentance and baptized them as a token of repentance (Mark 3:4). But he warned those who came out to be baptized by him that baptism did not wash away their sins ex opera operato (a Latin phrase meaning “by the work done,” expressing the Roman Catholic view of the effect of water baptism.) Baptism was a token or sign of repentance. John made it clear that repentance was not simply sorrow for sin. Sorrow for sin, a hatred of our sin, must produce not only inward grief, but must show itself in a changed life.
[John] said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:1-14
John was specific about repentance. He told tax collectors and soldiers to forsake sins for which their class was well known, and he told all who came to him to be generous with their goods—not to be generous to those in need is a sin of which most of us are guilty. These acts were representative of the “various outward mortification[s] of the flesh” Luther referred to.
What about you? Has your repentance consisted of going through rituals? Has it been sorrow or regret for sin that you nevertheless make no effort to forsake? If it is only inner regret unaccompanied by suitable outward repentance, that is, action that speaks to your particular sins, then it is “worthless,” as Luther said. Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century Baptist preacher, put it well: “Remember, the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance.”