February, the short month, is upon us. During this month we honor love, two important presidents and complete the season of Epiphany. Yet within this short month, much will happen. Youth will go to the Youth Retreat at Epworth By The Sea, we will have a special night out for adults, we will prepare and respond to the needs of people suffering from disasters during the Week of Compassion, and we will learn about living as students of Jesus on Sunday mornings all during this short month.

Even in a short month, we are able to respond to the call of God to serve and love as God has served and loved each of us. Our call, our mission, is not limited to longer months or months with more things of importance. Rather, we are called to serve daily. Every morning becomes an invitation from God to love your neighbor, to care for those who suffer, to overcome our fears and step forth into the world God created. During February we will celebrate Valentine’s Day which has become focused on romantic love, even though the name recalls Saint Valentine. There is not much that is reliable known about the first Saint Valentine (there were three by that name), but the oldest lived during the Third Century and was martyred for refusing to deny his faith. His devotion to following the love of God was well known. Therefore, the holiday we celebrate this month isn’t about romance so much as devotion loving as God loves. Please do not think that I am telling people not to get cards or flowers or to do something special with your spouse or partner. Rather, love everyone.

When you do anything this month, remember that we are challenged to love all we meet. Show compassion to all around you, whether they are someone you know, someone with whom you disagree, or a complete stranger. Remember that Jesus reached out to everyone who would listen and even those who didn’t want to be loved.

Once February ends, don’t set aside the focus on loving as we have been loved. Make it a life practice. Greet people with open warmth, smile at everyone, when you talk to someone focus on their words and not how you plan to answer their words, touch people with your hands, your heart, and your soul.

These are the things we are called to do. The community, the state, the nation, and the world could benefit from our sharing love with everyone in the name of the God who first loved us.

Shalom, Darrell