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    Reflection: The New Age of Martyrs

    By Edwin Astill

    RoseOn Thursday 23rd April we were stopped by a lady who offered my wife a red rose and a prayer card. She was from a local Anglican Church, and wanted to remind people that this was St. George’s day. Most people would not have known this, whereas St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in town with marquees offering beer, loud music, and floppy green hats.

    We have a pretty good idea of St. Patrick, and what we know of him does not square up to the beer and type of music. I’m not so sure what he would think of green floppy hats. Of St George we know less – indeed, many would argue that his story is just legend.

    What we do know is that in its early days, and throughout its history, the Church has suffered persecution and has produced men and women who are willing to die for the Risen Christ. Where these saints suffer the Church becomes strengthened. In February this year 21 Christians from the ancient Coptic Church were murdered by Islamic extremists for their faith. The Patriarch of Alexandria has since declared them martyrs. The Archbishop of Canterbury has since visited Cairo to show solidarity with the Coptic Church, and recognise the new Saints. He said:

    “Why have the martyrs of Libya spoken so powerfully to the world? The way these brothers lived and died communicated that their testimony is trustworthy.”

    Shortly afterwards some Ethiopian workers in Libya were also murdered for their faith.

    Heavenly Father. We thank you for the gift of your Son, who died for us. We thank you also for the witness of ordinary men and women whose faith and courage – even unto death – strengthen our own faith. May their sacrifice help bring about the speedy coming of our Lord in power and might. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen

    View previous Reflection articles

    A God of Second Chances
    Acceptance & Rejection
    New Lights
    New Things
    More Thoughts on Christmas
    Thoughts on Christmas

    The Vastness of Creation

    Unexpected Treasure

    Life’s Challenges
    Home is where the Heart is
    Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
    Sticks and Stones
    Beauty in the Chaos
    God and Creation
    Perfect Timing
    The Lord is near
    Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
    A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
    Remain in Me

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