December 26, 2017
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
On the last day of our week in London, we rushed across Hyde Park. Our destination was a small rowhouse squeezed among others and just like them in all but one respect: the huge crucifix affixed to the exterior wall, hanging above the busy road.
Inside, a sister took us down to the basement shrine. She told us the story of the Tyburn martyrs, men and women executed by the English government in the wake of the Reformation. This was the reason her convent stood in this place.
It is odd, we might think, to celebrate the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the day after Christmas. Doesn't the sad story break the mood?
Not really, for we approach his story in the same spirit that sister did that afternoon--with, if you can imagine it, a serious kind of joy. Not because injustice or evil isn't real, but because he is, and he is Emmanuel.
Jesus, in joy, I embrace your way, from Bethlehem to Calvary.
- Amy Welborn
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59|Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17|Matthew 10:17-22