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whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory:
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
2 Kings 2: 1 – 12
2 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’
4 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. 5 The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’
6 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ 10 He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
Psalm 50: 1 – 6
1 The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
4 He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 ‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
6 The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
2 Corinthians 4: 3 – 6
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Mark 9: 2 – 9
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Roses are red, Violets are blue
Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you
Have you ever received a valentine’s card with similar words written inside? Did you guess who it was from? May be you have written similar words? How did you sign you the card – anon, left it blank or maybe you wrote something like ‘From Your Valentine’?
Legend has it that just before he was put to death, St Valentine wrote a letter to the daughter of his jailer or judge, whom he had healed of blindness. He signed the letter ‘From Your Valentine’.
This got me thinking. Today to most people St Valentine’s Day is all about romance – candlelit diners, red roses, big boxes of chocolates, or maybe that last minute dash to buy that forgotten box of chocolates!!
Yet the story of St Valentine is not a story of romance. This was a medieval re –invention of the story. It is actually a story of being faithful in the face of persecution; loving your neighbour as yourself; of being a friend to all.
As I reflect over the last 12 months, my abiding memory is and will always be how much I have to celebrate. Most of all, I celebrate and give thanks for the friendships that have grown and flourished and the new ones that have been created. Through the good weather of the spring, summer and early autumn, the back garden of our house became the Café at No.83. We entertained and were entertained nearly every day. Furlough and redundancy created the time and space to enjoy just being rather than just doing. From 84th birthday tea parties to star gazing at 11.30 at night, or chats with my neighbours over the garden hedge, these are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
But friendship is not about big gestures, it is the little gestures that make friendship. Sheridan Voisey described friendship as being the person others could confide in; showing genuine interest in others wellbeing; remembering the small details – a special anniversary; finding that favourite cheese in lockdown, finding time to share those simple moments that mean so much.
To paraphrase a poem by U.A. Fanthorpe
Friendship is the sensible side of love (of romance),
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dry rotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “I no longer call you servants…. Instead, I have called you friends.
We surely need no better incentive to celebrate friendship than the fact Jesus offers us his friendship. A friendship that is unconditional and free to all.
So what will you celebrate this Valentine’s Day?
Ashley Jones, LLM