The pastor took a deep breath. Here in the office, waiting to give her sermon, Vida felt confident. She knew that that confidence would fade step by step as she walked towards the podium.
Today was February 14th. It was St Valentine's day. The original St Valentine was a priest and a doctor circa 270 ad. Under Emperor Claudius Gothicas II he became a martyr, suffering persecution along with all the other Christians the Romans could lay their hands on.
There were varying rumors of what he was known for. Some sources claim that St Valentine sent a letter to his jailer's daughter (whom he had cured of her blindness), and signed it from your Valentine. Other sources claim he defied the emperor's orders to unite couples in marriage to save them from being sent to war.
Either way, it didn’t matter. What had started as a holy day to venerate a Christian martyr who died in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ had turned into an abomination. As usual, humanity had turned a sacred event into a commercial occasion. The real St Valentine had become obscured in history. He had been replaced by cheap chocolates and fading flowers, this by men who wanted to open a woman's legs, with or without the sacrament of marriage. The women, of course, seemed more than happy to accept their trinkets and oblige the men by allowing themselves to be used and debased. Not only did the masses debase themselves, but they also spit on God’s holy people, his saints, and his sacrosanct word.
Vida had had enough of people's disrespectful ways. Half the alleged Christian congregation was fornicating with the other half. None of these people were married to each. Some were even married to others. It was disgraceful and shameful.
1 couple had walked into the church holding hands with each other, making no secret of where they had spent the night. The male member of the couple had only separated from his wife of 15 years the month prior.
This was not the kind of church that was smiled upon by God in the Bible. In fact, the Bible was very clear, especially in the book of Revelations about where these people sat in God’s plan.
The other pastors seemed content to let people ‘go with the flow'. They encouraged people to do what felt right. They said as long as they repented every week, that sin was ok. The pastors didn’t say it in so many words, but it was the implied message. As long as people donated their money and the numbers of churchgoers stayed above a certain limit, the other pastors didn’t seem to care as to guiding the souls along the right path, from sin to righteousness in God’s sight. They only brought up the passages from the Bible that encouraged or threatened people to part with their money and attend church. Never did any of the verses that could convict that pastors themselves, of what she felt to be their shoddy shepherding, were used.
Vida’s hard line on sin didn’t come from a spot-free past. Her hardline on sin came from a jaded past. Vida had suffered firsthand because she had committed sin after sin. It didn’t matter that the original motivation for the sin had not come from her. Master manipulators had forced her into sin and she had lost blessing after blessing. By the time she had been forced into deep contemplation, she had lost everything and her most pressing question had been: why?
Over the last several years of her life, she had spent much time with God, not only acknowledging her sin, where she was responsible, and where she wasn’t but making the appropriate adjustments in her behavior so that she did not continue to sin. It hadn’t been easy, being in so much isolation, but it had been necessary. It was the only way Jesus and God had been able to shift the direction of her life from where physical failings were taking her and make her into the spiritual success that God and Jesus wanted for her and themselves. It was a bigger picture that God was looking at. It was simple to see how her personal testimony of God’s intervention could save others from the same mistakes she had made.
It is one thing when you are unconscious of the sin, but another thing when you are aware of the sin. Then you make the decision to either refrain from sin or continue to sin. As long as one sin, she knew from experience, she would never receive God’s blessings. What Vida needed in her life was an abundance of miracles and blessings, considering the heavy spiritual attack she was always under from Satan and his ‘chattel’.
This was to be her first real St Valentine's day ever. Not one of the men that had used and abused her, for their sexual gratification or as something to hit when they couldn’t control themselves, had she ever received a Valentine's day gift.
To be able to preach to the congregation about the authentic St Valentine, what the real meaning of Valentine's day is, and about her experience with sexual sin blocking her from the blessings of God, was the Lord’s gift of love unto her.
Though Vida was a new pastor, she understood the eternal soul very well. Vida took the responsibility of helping others onto the right path very serious. It was important to her to steer others away from the snares and traps of the Devil. Today was her day to prove to the other pastors, the congregation and whoever else in the world was watching where she stood on certain subjects. God, silent, but not absent, always watching, already knew of the miraculous transformation from a sinner that had taken place within her own soul.
Today, through her personal testimony, if it was God’s will, perhaps another soul would turn from their wicked ways, unto seeking Jesus with their own soul, rather than with lip service. Either way, it didn’t matter. The outer room was silent now and Vida heard herself being introduced through the speakers.
It was time to set matters straight and souls on the right path.