By Rev. Robert Braudt
Lead Pastor, River Hills UMC
February: The Month of Super Bowls, Valentines, and Ashes
Yeah … I’m not going to talk about the Super Bowl. Too soon. It does give us a snapshot of the challenge we have as a church when one week we were talking Miracles and the next week we were facing a Flop.
Valentines … I shared a story in worship the Sunday after Jocelyn and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on Jan. 2. The frigid temps kept many at home, so I thought it was appropriate to share it again as a tribute to love. Jocelyn and I had just returned from a road trip to New Jersey over the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Each of us had a lot of catching up to do, so we opted for an anniversary breakfast. We went to our favorite breakfast spot and had a wonderful morning together. I dropped her off at home and headed to visit some folks in the hospital. She was going to the dance studio to get ready for classes to resume that night. No sooner did I arrive in the lobby of the hospital when my phone rang. It was Jocelyn. A little concerned since we had just seen each other, I answered the phone and she asked, “Did you change my radio station?” I clamored a bit. I didn’t remember changing it. “Well,” she continued, “I thought maybe you changed it, because when I got in the car, my radio was tuned in to the Love Station.” We laughed. I would have loved to have taken credit. It would have been a pretty smooth anniversary move. “But that’s not it. You’ll never guess what song was playing on the radio! ‘Somewhere Out There!’” That was the song we shared our first dance to as a married couple 30 years ago. It is not a particularly popular song, so to have it on the radio at the precise time she started the car that morning was a blessing we would choose to embrace as a reminder that we made the right decision all those years earlier.
Ashes … Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year. I am reminded that there is a strong connection between love and all that the ashes stand for on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a love story that takes us from the wilderness to the cross. It is not about flowers and chocolates, but it is about a hands-on, fully committed love that is lived with purpose and sacrifice. It means repentance and grace, confession and forgiveness.
Football seasons come and go. Flowers fade. Love never ends.