Inspiration from the Spire | A day for your near and dear ones

February 11th, 2012 11:25 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

When I was a schoolboy, I remember my group of friends proudly counting how many anonymous Valentine’s cards they had received. After a forensic examination of handwriting, we soon discovered that the ‘Jack the Lad’ who had boasted the most had sent most or all of them to himself!

The card, flower and chocolate sellers make a good profit from St Valentine. But what or who is behind it all?  St Valentine was a priest or bishop in Terni who was martyred in Rome under

Emperor Claudius Gothicus for his Christian faith.  Since 1835 his body has been buried in Dublin. No-one seems to know why this rather obscure third century Italian bishop’s name became linked to lovers or courting couples. But there is a belief that the birds of the air are supposed to pair on 14 February – a belief as least as old as Chaucer. And the custom of choosing and calling oneself a Valentine is as least as old as the Paston Letters, a collection of manuscripts written about life in England between 1422 and 1509.  There was also the Roman Lupercalia Festival, which took place in the middle of February each year. Whatever the connection with St Valentine, he has boosted our economy. In London the price of red roses triples this week! Probably here in Copenhagen too.

As a parish priest, one of the most special things I do is preparing couples for marriage, and then officiating at their wedding. In this world so much is short-term and temporary and fast, from employment contracts to fast-food. We cast away furniture that looks slightly outdated. We trade in our cars for the latest model. It is an incredible thing, and counter-cultural too, when two people come together in public and promise “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part”. These words are so powerful that many weep. A shiver always goes down my neck.  When I lived in South London the word “whatever” was a popular expression with young people. It doesn’t really mean anything in particular, but in a way it sums up the staying power behind a long-term committed relationship in which we promise to love and cherish each other, whatever comes along.

This week I will officiate at the funeral of a special lady who was married for 55 years. Such commitment and strength of relationship, in my view, makes the world a better place. And I salute them.
So whatever you receive on Valentine’s Day – whether it be flowers, chocolates, cards, a special meal, or just a night in by the fire watching Big Brother – give thanks for love. It makes the world go round.

There is a special St Valentine’s Day service for couples this Sunday at 16:00 at St Alban’s Church, Churchillparken 11, Cph K. All are welcome.

February 14 will offer time for quiet reflection, but more importantly: love!
Quietly remembered in a city where love will conquer all
The morning of 14 February 2015 was like any other Valentine’s Day in Cop...
The Danish-German border (photo: Arne List)
This Week’s Editorial: Refugees at work
The Danish politicians have digested the L87 austerity package and found a ...
The Elephant Beer brand is easily recognisable (photo: Kungfuman)
Elephant beer going down well in India
Carlsberg's old sudsy stalwart, Elephant Beer, has become a trumpeting succ...
Transporting drinking water from other places could have great environmental and economic consequences (photo: iStock)
Groundwater in Danish capital at risk of contamination
Groundwater in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg may be at risk of contamination...
40 percent aged 18-29 have had sex on a first date (photo: iStock)
Young Danes ‘do it’ on the first date
If you're going on a first date with a Dane under 30 this weekend, there is...
New digital police equipment leaving a mark on speedster wallets (photo: iStock)
Copenhagen’s roads lead the way in generating speeding fines
Four roads in the Copenhagen area are among the nation's top five for yield...