I found an interesting .pdf book online, Early Christian Prayers. I've been reading the section, 'Prayers of the Martyrs.'
First of all, why were those Christians martyred? Because they were criminals? No. It was because they dared to claim allegiance to a King other than the earthly king or emperor. What did this allegiance to King Jesus look like? It looked like following Jesus - showing kindness, generosity, humility, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, putting others before themselves and their own comfort. Those aren't exactly things that anyone should object to, but as is true in any generation, even our own, people in power don't like competition.
Here's an excerpt from 'Prayers of the Martyrs' in 'Early Christian Prayers':
'Besides praising God and thanking him, the witnesses to the faith call in their prayers for God's help at the critical moment. They ask him to put their sin out of his mind, to forgive their executioners and to strengthen the faith of their brethren. Then they resign their souls into their Father's hands.
'What makes these prayers so moving is that they are essentially the expression given in the imminence of death to a faith soon to be sealed with blood.'
"Carpus was a bishop martyred at Pergamum in Asia Minor, under Marcus Aurelius. The account of [his] sufferings come from eye witnesses.
Carpus was fastened to the post. As the flames began to burn him, he gave a loud shout and said:
'Blessing to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God; you have thought me fit to share this fate with you, sinner though I am.' So saying he yielded up his soul."
The other accounts are similar, the Christians being burned at the stake or being tortured first and then burned at the stake or killed by the sword, but all blessing God for the opportunity to suffer for him.
This reminded me of some verses in Hebrews 11, referring back to God's people throughout the ages:
'They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy)...'
Even today, in many parts of the world, there are Christians being persecuted for their faith in God, their love of Jesus Christ.
Pray for fellow believers who are enduring persecution.
The past two Anglophile Fridays have consisted of shots of the town of Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral. Although I have many more photos of the glorious interior of Canterbury Cathedral, we are ending (for now) this Canterbury series with these few photos.
Saint Michael's Chapel
I went to bed last night without scheduling this post to publish. And now I'm not quite so annoyed with myself for getting it up later than usual, because I just finished reading Mike's 'A Bit About Britain' post in which Stephen Langton is also mentioned. Be sure to catch that post about Magna Carta.
(Saint Michael's Chapel)
Memorial Chapel for the Royal East Kent Regiment
Stone Stairway, worn down from centuries
of pilgrims on their way to Trinity Chapel
which used to contain the shrine of Saint Thomas. (see below)
The Thomas Becket Candle
For the story of Thomas Becket and King Henry II, the BBC has a good summary. It was written by an associate producer of Simon Schama's A History of Britain, so I figure it's possibly more reliable than Wikipedia, and besides, I love that series. Who doesn't like Simon Schama.
On the sign:
"The candle burns where the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury
stood from 1220 to 1538 when it was destroyed by order of King Henry VIII"
And a few more photos of the interior of Canterbury Cathedral:
And for you other Anglophiles, be sure to stop in at Martha Ellen's blog. She and her husband recently took their dream cruise to England and she's blogging about it. You won't be disappointed.
Have a great weekend, friends!
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