Churches and church organisations celebrate marriage as the foundation of family and as an example of God's love for His people. Around Valentine's Day, many churches plan a Valentine's banquet for church couples. The Bible offers many ideas for an entertaining and meaningful evening where couples have a chance to celebrate their relationship, love and marriage with other Christian couples.
Within 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 is the basis for a banquet celebrating what love is all about. This passage talks about love as patient and kind, not jealous or rude. Decorate the tables with white tablecloths, adding red runners down the middle. Each table has the Corinthians passage in text down the runner. Place couples together, of course. At each place setting have a printout of the passage in Old English or other formal print; use each printout as a place card or attach one to each treat cup filled with heart candies. For an opening game, have each couple hold hands and tell each other three things that make them a 1 Corinthians 13 mate. Include Christian love songs such as Michael W. Smith's "For You" or Steve Green's "Holding Hands." Bring in a speaker who will encourage the couples to love and care for one another as Christ loves them.
The Biblical book Song of Solomon is all about passionate, expressive love. Create a Christian Valentine's Day banquet around themes from Solomon. Start with a large banner on the wall with the words taken from Solomon 2:4: "His Banner Over Me is Love." Set the tables with greens and plants symbolising passages from Solomon where the lovers met in the vineyards and fields. Place cards and treat cups should include small banners with the passage from Solomon 8:7: "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be condemned." While this is the King James Version, you can also use a more contemporary version. Share special wedding memories, regardless of how long ago the wedding may have been. A speaker can share how marriage is a covenant a man and woman make before God and share ways to keep those fires burning at home.
The story from the Biblical book of Ruth is the romance of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth lost her husband and returns to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who more or less orchestrates the romance to follow. Use their romance as the theme for a Valentine's banquet, especially if there are couples within the congregation who have lost a marriage partner but have found new love. Set the tables with arrangements of stalks of grain, symbolising where Ruth and Boaz met. Have the couples share how they met and fell in love---the short version. A speaker can share how God brings two people together and that love is God's idea because God is love. Another option is to use this opportunity to share how Jesus' sacrifice for us sets an example of love for couples to follow with one another.
Choose foods both men and women enjoy. (Hint: guys tend not to like a meal entirely of salad.) Try to accommodate those with special dietary needs if they inform you ahead of time.
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