Love is extremely central to the Gospel: the reason Jesus came to give us eternal life is out of God’s eternal love for our world (Jn 3:16), He said that the greatest commandments in the Old Testament Law are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39) Jesus close disciple John just fell in love with Love, and emphasized it like crazy in his writings:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 Jn 4:7-12)
But all love isn’t good love. In the same letter, John warns us for loving things instead of people, creation instead of God: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 Jn 2:15-17)
See, this is in my opinion the greatest sin of Western society: we have replaced love for God and people with love for stuff and countries. People say “I love my country” to defend that their government is sending drones to slaughter civilians. They say “we need restricted migration to protect our welfare” in order to deport poor people back to poverty while keeping their position as one of the richest countries in the world. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim 6:10)
Today is Valentine’s Day, and it should be beautiful – people kiss, send greetings and take care of each other. But for so many people the “natural” way to send a love message is through consumption. A friend told me “to give presents is our love language!” And that’s exactly what the capitalists want. They want you to think that a hug and acts of kindness are insufficient ways to communicate love, you need a bunch of flowers filled with pesticides or a chocolate box from a company that uses child slaves in the Ivory Coast in order to truly say “I love you”.
Consumerism and nationalism are the idols of the Western Empire, enemies to the Kingdom of God. They have nothing to do with Valentine and should be defeated. It’s more radical and loving when you actually do something loving rather than buying stuff for the one you love. With that being said – happy Valentine’s day!