It’s being pea-brained that causes it. Love, that is. The “pea” I’m referring to is phenylethylamine, known for short as “P.E.A.” It’s a neurotransmitter, produced in your brain. And it interacts with other brain hormones to give you that heady, indescribable feeling of being in love. And today, there’s going to be a lot of P.E.A. about, because it’s St Valentine’s Day. Did you remember?
There are different kinds of love. The love that’s in the air this St Valentine’s Day is what the Greeks call Eros. It’s the love between two unrelated people that leads to an attachment of the heart, and maybe on to marriage and children.
The Greeks also spoke of Philos, a “friendship” for someone or something. The Greek word pops up in words like philosophy – the love of knowledge. I guess there’s Filbertophiles with a passion for Leicester City Football Club. Maybe they’re going to become Fossophiles[§] soon! This is the love for someone or something that leads to an attachment of the mind, and a deep interest and commitment to knowing all about the object of attention.
And there’s a third word the Greeks used. It’s the word Agape, and we don’t have an exact equivalent in English. It expresses the highest, the most noble and devoted love that sees something unspeakably precious in the object of the love. It’s the word that appears time and time again in the New Testament, describing God’s love for all mankind and how God wants us to love each other. This is the love that leads to an attachment – a oneness - not only of your heart and mind, but of your will and your very being as well. It’s the long-term love that grows and takes over when two people spend their lives together.
Jesus had a lot of hard things to say about love. It’s easy to love your friends, but Jesus commands us - not asks us, but commands us -to love our enemies as well. And depending on Dr Blix’s report to the United Nations later today, that might include Saddam Hussein as well. See how hard it is to live up to Jesus’ commands?
But today, it’s an easy one. It’s our chance to express our agape love to that special someone with a card, with flowers, with chocolates, with a cosy candle-lit meal for two. In a small way we’re following God’s example, after all: This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son[**].
[*] Leicester City Football Club has been in financial difficlties. A new company has been formed to take over the club. The chairman has suggested that to give a new start, the club might revert to its pre-1921 name “Leicester Fosse”, subject to fans’ approval.
[*] John 3:16, from The Message translation by Eugene H Peterson
[§] Leicester City Football Club has been in financial difficlties. A new company has been formed to take over the club. The chairman has suggested that to give a new start, the club might revert to its pre-1921 name “Leicester Fosse”, subject to fans’ approval.
[**] John 3:16, from The Message translation by Eugene H Peterson.