Facing The Challenge?

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Today, 14th February, is St Valentine’s day…

Valentine was an Italian priest, imprisoned for aiding Christians persecuted by Roman Emperor Claudius II… he performed ‘outlawed’ weddings… Marriage was seen to be an obstacle to recruiting new soldiers and a distraction to existing soldiers!

Whilst in prison he taught the jailer’s daughter. He sent her a note, signed ‘your valentine’…hence the tradition… for cards (not presents!)

Facing the challenge? The name ‘Valentine’ comes from the Latin ‘valens’ –  meaning ‘worthy, strong, powerful’. Valentine was strong… and was executed (AD 270) for refusing to renounce his faith… Subsequently he became the patron saint of love, marriage… travellers, bee keepers and people with epilepsy.

Black 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in 1993… An enquiry to be set up (1997)… the subsequent Macpherson report (1999) concluded that the murder investigations were ‘marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership’…

19 years later ‘Professional incompetence and failure of leadership’ have both have been quoted recently in the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Sue Gray report, and a series of damaging national controversies…

And ‘institutional racism’? A 2017 government report found that the colour of your skin is the most important factor in how you are treated by the justice system…

Facing the challenge? It seems we still have a long way to go.

Musing… facing my challenges?

Sometimes I’m challenged to face my fears, weaknesses and failures; sometimes I’m challenged to face a difficult decision, a challenging relationship, an avoided problem, a painful memory…

Yesterday in church we were told that we’re required to be courageous, not comfortable; at another recent service we were reminded of God’s words commissioning Joshua: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’

Facing the challenge? I need Valentine’s… Joshua’s… strong courage… coming from the God who was with them… and is with me.  

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