More on martrydom

Here are a few things heard and found after our worship on Sunday: First, I found this on the first page of our copy of Martyrs Mirror:

photo(3)It’s a beautiful note from Jesse’s parents on the occasion of his baptism. There was also a sweet note from a couple at church thanking Jesse for sharing his energy, music, humor and talents.When I discovered this I thought of a story I heard once about a grandparent who gave his grandson a Bible for high school graduation. He kept asking his grandson if he had opened his Bible yet. “Yes, grandpa,” he said. It wasn’t until many, many years later that the grandson ACTUALLY opened the Bible. Low and behold, there was money stuck between each and every page. Lesson? Grandpas often have a way of knowing when we are lying AND you never know what unexpected treasures you will discover inside the pages of a book!

Now to things heard: (If you haven’t listened to Sunday’s martyr presentation go here.)

  • “My young son turned to me and said, ‘This is interesting!” (She then went on to say that she has never heard her son say this at church.)
  • “What if Lonnie presented this at the Mennonite World Conference or what about Mennonite Church USA conference?”
  • “Who was your favorite martyr today?” This then led to a discussion of whether there should be martyr trading cards or something. Slightly irreverent, and yet funny.
  • “I just don’t know how to relate to these stories and people! I am working so hard at self-care and finding balance. These stories are just too extreme!”
  • “I trembled several times during the service.” (I didn’t know if this was a good thing or bad thing.)

I’m sure Sunday lunch conversations were lively with your reactions and responses, your appreciation and/or dismay. A lingering question for me is how and if these stories and lives matter today. We live in such a different time. Still, there will always be times we are called to take a stand as a result of faith and take risks in doing so. I appreciate how David Augsburger puts it in his book Dissident Discipleship. He says that often times discipleship does not lead in a spectacular act of martrydom. Rather, it is “a set of Christlike instincts and reflexive responses of love that gradually take shape in our lives over a period of years.”

There will be more said about this on Sunday. Plus, more will be said about one person who definitely had Christlike instincts and lived a full life of love. His name is Dr. Vincent Harding. I learned of Dr. Harding’s death this morning and I have been reading about him all day. Come Sunday to learn more about this radical disciple and click here for a past blog post that mentions Dr. Harding.
Dr. Harding

And here are a few other responses to Dr. Harding’s recent death:

Christian Century article

Red Letter Christian article

MCUSA tribute by Joanna Shenk

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