Extraordinary video: Egyptian Christians respond to violence

A few days ago, I received a link to a most extraordinary video. It shows the response of Egyptian Christians to the violence that has gone on there.

The video came with this comment:

“Millions were totally astonished by watching the content of this video which was broadcasted on National TV. It was a real testimony to the love of God and His forgiving power, that was demonstrated through real people; deeply wounded by the loss of their loved ones, yet they are forgiving their enemies and praying for them to see the light and be saved.”

I requested permission from those who made the video to post it on my blog. Their reply: “Yes, go ahead! If the whole world knows that this is the proper response to the terrorists, they will have no sway over us.”

 

May we weep with them, intercede for them, and learn from our brothers and sisters in Egypt.

Heroines of the faith: Blandina

Blandina was martyred in AD 177.  A slave, she and her master were part of a Christian community in Lyon,  (now in France). They were among a number of people who were arrested and brought to trial in the forum under the imperial legate in the reign of Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Those who renounced their faith were released, but those who persisted in claiming they were Christians were condemned to torture and death.

Blandina was frail and those arrested with her were afraid she would not be able to stand firm. She was tortured for so long that her torturers became exhausted and “did not know what more they could do to her.”  They had never know an woman suffer that much and for so long. Whatever question they asked her, the response was the same. “I am a Christian, and we commit no wrongdoing.”

Blandina was bound to a stake and wild beasts were let loose, but according to legend, they didn’t touch her. She survived longer than all the other martyrs, but finally she was scourged, enclosed in a net and trampled by a bull. She was eventually killed with a dagger. Several days later, the bodies of the martyrs were burned and the ashes thrown into the Rhone river.

 Photo Credit: Ramura via Compfight cc

Information for this post came from here and here

Heroines of the faith: Saints Perpetua and Felicity

I never knew there was a saint with the same name as mine until I started researching Perpetua.

Perpetua was a Christian noblewoman, aged around 22, who was martyred in 202 or 203 AD. She lived with her husband, young son and her slave, Felicitas in Carthage (modern day Tunis). When Emperor  Septimus Severus decided to persecute Christianity, he focused on North Africa. A group of five new converts who were preparing for baptism, including Perpetua, was among the first to be arrested.

Perpetua’s father came to visit her in prison and begged her to renounce Christianity. Despite the fact that she was nursing a young child, she refused to recant. She was allowed to keep the child in prison with her, but conditions in the prison were so terrible, she feared for his safety. She was baptized in prison.

At the trial, the other four in the group were questioned first. Each, in turn was asked if they were Christians. All of them replied, “yes” and each refused to worship the emperor. Then came Perpetua’s turn. At that point,  her father burst into the courtroom carrying her young baby. The judge again asked her, for the sake of her father and her child, to deny her faith. She, too, refused to deny Christ. They were all sentenced to die in the arena.

Felicitas, who was subsequently arrested, was eight months pregnant at the time, and anxious that she, too, be allowed to suffer martyrdom, but the law prevented the execution of pregnant women. She gave birth to her daughter in time to join the others in the arena.

When the day of their martyrdom arrived, Perpetua and Felicitas entered the arena clad in simple belted tunics. Wild beasts and gladiators roamed the arena as the crowd roared for blood. A wild heifer stormed the group and Perpetua was tossed into the air. Blood-stained, she rose to her feet to help her slave.  She called out to the other Christians, encouraging them to keep their faith and to love each other. Finally, a swordsman was appointed to execute her. He missed her neck, hitting her collarbone instead, so she guided the sword to her neck so that he might finish the job.

I sometimes ask myself, would I be willing to face martyrdom rather than deny my faith in Jesus Christ. I hope so.

Photo credit: http://www.rpmministries.org/2012/03/

A moving, and mostly first person account of their last days can be found here.

Other information for this post was found here and here.