Thursday, February 23, 2006

Look to Polycarp ...

Just in case anyone read the last paragraph of my entry on singleness and thought I had got carried away on a wave of emotional writing, I have been reading about the great saint and martyr Polycarp. What a man! Listen to this;

Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing Christ, he replied: "Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" The magistrate was reluctant to kill a a gentle old man, but he had no choice.
Polycarp was sentenced to be burned. As he waited for the fire to be lighted, he prayed:

"Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved
child Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of
you, God of angels and hosts and all creation, and of the whole
race of the upright who live in your presence: I bless you
that you have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to be
numbered among the martyrs
(*Note that ... "Worthy"*)
and share in the cup of Christ, for resurrection to eternal life,
for soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit.
Among them may I be accepted before you today, as a rich and
acceptable sacrifice, just as you, the faithful and true God, have prepared and
foreshown and brought about. For this reason and for all things
I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal
heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved child, through
whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for
the ages to come. Amen".

The fire was then lit and shortly thereafter a soldier stabbed Polycarp to death by order of the magistrate.

1 comment:

Hugh Griffiths said...

Polycarp's reply of faithfulness to to the point of martyrdom was amazing. It is so appropriate that he was Bishop of Smyrna where Jesus gave the church (Revelation 2:9-10) the commendation and instruction ""I know your afflictions and your poverty - yet you are rich! ...Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life"