This year's church year is weird.

It started with the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on Christmas Eve. When did Advent end and when did Christmas begin? Who knows!

Now we have Ash Wednesday and the Feast of St. Valentine falling on the same day! (We typically don't make much of the Feast of St. Valentine, though it would seem he was a faithful Christian pastor and martyr.)

In honor of this strange combination, my wife sent me some Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day Cards:

"Roses are red violets are blue, Lent is beginning, no chocolate for you." (my favorite)

"Won't you be my valentine, you miserable offender?"

"Remember you are but dust, but awfully lovable dust."

(Credits here and more yuks)

It's an interesting combination: the ashes of repentance (Ash Wednesday) and the beating heart of love (Valentine's Day). But both very much intertwined.

You see, on Ash Wednesday we do remember that we are ashes and dust. Our sins before a righteous God mean that we die. We bury our loved ones because sin is in the world. It is the curse of God on mankind, "The wages of sin is death."

But, God's beating heart of love has never stopped for you. His powerful anger against sin is answered by his powerful work to save us. He has opened his heart to us so that we would how he has saved us by sacrificing his own son, Jesus Christ, in our place. That same Son of God and Son of Man purified us by his innocent blood, rose again from the dead, and now is seated at God's right hand, interceding on our behalf. You are saved. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day perfectly embodies the two great truths of Scripture: God condmens sin, and through Jesus Christ God has rescued sinful man.