God is in Charge. Not Me.

Red is the liturgical color for, among other & more joyful occasions,  the feast day of martyrs. When I peeked at my Episcopal calendar this morning I noted that today’s date  was printed in RED ink.

Today is the feast day of St Stephen. 

Acts 6:8-10 tells the familiar story of the stoning of St Stephen, the first recorded martyr.  Scripture says that Stephen was stones because ” the could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he{ Stephen} spoke.”  The crowd also accused Stephen of  blasphemy & bearing false witness against God.  But the very last  part of this periciphy  strikes me as the most profound witness to Stephen’s faith.

“And all who sat in the council looked intently at him , and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. ”

Scripture doesn’t tell us what was going on in the mind of Stephen as he stood before the elders. It only says that his face was” like an angel”.  Perhaps this is because St Stephen knew  that his obedience to  God , even  to the point of death by stoning, was what God asked of him.  Stephen was arrested & put on trial for nothing more than proclaiming the Truth: that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God.

So I ask myself, what can I, Sarah, give ?

 Clearly we are not all called to literally give up our Earthly lives  for our faith, but I’m reminded   often that faith does come with a price.  It isn’t easy to be an authentic Christ-follower in today’s secular world. The world wants us to put ourselves first & I am very guilty of this sin. The world also says that we humans are in charge of our individual destiny. But Scripture teaches us differently> Even back in the Torah, God makes it perfectly clear that God is the One in charge. Not Adam,  Jacob,  Moses, Esther, or David. God is , was & always shall be God.

Perhaps St Stephen knew that  God wanted  him to die for the faith and that is why Scripture tells us that ” his face was like the face of an angel”. I can only hope & pray that I have the same strength of faith in God when adversity comes my way or when my life take unexpected and/or often painful turns. 

It is easy to surrender to God’s will when things in life are going well, but terribly  difficult{ for me at least} to  remember  the words of the Our Father prayer that we pray every day “. ..Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven..”

Amen

Feast of St Stephen 2009

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