Friday, December 26, 2014

Saint Stephen the Martyr

Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ, 

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
 Psalm 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17
 Matthew 10:17-22

Churches, homes and streets are still wrapped in a festive appearance and spirit after celebrating the birth of Christ yesterday, and yet today we recognize the feast of St. Stephen, deacon and the first martyr. It is as though this particular gospel was written for him, as Christ predicted the coming persecutions of those who followed Him. Those who keep up to date with the news have to ask, "So, what has changed?" Today Christians throughout the world are persecuted blatantly because of their faith.

 The apostles for some time believed that Christ had come to establish His kingdom on earth, even though they were living with Christ and hearing His message daily. They did not see Him as the Suffering Servant who had come to set us free. Let this feast serve as a reminder to us that we are not to use that freedom, won for us by His Blood, to build our own kingdom on earth, but rather that we are to continue the mission of Christ. It might require some suffering for us along the journey, but Christ warned us of that possibility. We know, however, that He is with us, every step of the way.

 Father Ed Bakker 
 Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province 
 Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne