The Price of Love
An assembly for Valentine’s Day
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to consider different types of love and the cost of showing our love.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- Today is Valentine’s Day, the day that some of us might have been awaiting for ages. This could be the day when we find out whether someone loves us, or perhaps we’ve taken the chance to secretly express our love for someone else.
I’m not going to ask how many of you have received cards, flowers or gifts today. And I’m definitely not going to ask how many of you sent them. That’s your business. What I want to ask you is, ‘How much did it cost you to express that love?’
- Let’s consider St Valentine for a minute. Now, he wasn’t in love himself; instead, he was a priest who married couples secretly, which meant that the men wouldn’t be called up for military service by the Roman emperor. The emperor considered that married men had divided loyalties - to their wives and to their country - so they couldn’t be relied on in battle. Through his actions, St Valentine placed human love above civil duty, so he was executed, later becoming the patron saint of lovers.
- Joan of Arc paid the ultimate price for a different kind of love. She felt that she was called by God to lead the French army against the English army during the Hundred Years’ War. Her love was for her country. She gave up the chance of marriage, became a soldier and successfully drove the enemy from many parts of France. Eventually, she was captured, but she refused to deny God’s call to defend her country, so she was burned at the stake in Rouen’s marketplace in 1431.
- Do you think it’s possible to love the whole world? Christians believe that God loved, and still loves, the world so much that he was willing to pay the highest price imaginable to gain its freedom. The problem was that the world had been invaded right to its very core by something like a virus, which the Bible calls ‘sin’. Only when that sin had been dealt with could the world be set free.
Christians believe that God paid the price of his love by sending his son, Jesus, to be the solution. Christians believe that Jesus, when he died on a cross, drew all that sin into himself and died. The world had been set free, a point proven when God brought Jesus back to life, having broken the power of sin.
Time for reflection
So, let’s get back to considering the price we’re willing to pay for the love we may claim to have given or received. The examples that we’ve considered certainly put our actions on this Valentine’s Day into perspective. How much do we love someone else? Maybe he or she is worth a couple of pounds for a card. It might be that we’ve gone a bit further and invested a higher amount. It’s only money, though; it’s not really that much of a sacrifice.
What else could be the price of love for us here and now? We’ve considered various types of love in this assembly. St Valentine is about romantic love, Joan of Arc is about patriotic love and God’s love is about a deeper love that encompasses our bodies, minds and souls. Money doesn’t come into any of them. What matters is the sacrifice that was required to demonstrate that love.
What sacrifice would we be willing to make for someone whom we love today? At the very least, maybe we could be willing to sacrifice time to be with them. At first, we might find this an easy sacrifice to make. What about when the choice is more difficult, though? Would we sacrifice our favourite activities to be with someone we love? Do we think that it would be right to make that sacrifice?
Another sacrifice would be effort. The Proclaimers sing about walking 1,000 miles to be with the one they love. That’s one kind of effort, and I’m sure that some of us have walked miles to see someone whom we cared about. However, there are other types of effort. There’s the effort to be kind when we’re feeling grumpy, the effort to do things that we wouldn’t normally choose, the effort to compromise and the effort to please another person.
The final sacrifice is the hardest. What would we be willing to give up or lose, in order to keep the relationships that we value today? Some of us might be in the early stages of a relationship, and the relationship may only last a few days or weeks anyway. However, as time goes on, there are choices that we’ll have to make.
Each of us has hopes and ambitions for the future. We have sets of values and beliefs, many of which stem from our family background. Lasting love entails choices and some choices may be hard. They can easily affect the rest of our life. The choice that we make should always be to hold on to what means the most to us. Love is about creating something that’s worth the sacrifice.
Of course, love is important every day, not just on Valentine’s Day, but it can be a good opportunity to focus our thoughts. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!
Thank you for the opportunity to love.
Remind us of the love that others have shown us when we feel unloved.
May we learn to give love in a sacrificial way.
‘I’m gonna be (500 miles)’ by the Proclaimers, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbNlMtqrYS0 (3.38 minutes long)