Feast of Stephen
Naming creates reality. What does it mean for us to be named after this martyr? In these days of suicide bombers, can the image of martyrdom be redeemed?
Stephen was one of the first Christian deacons and martyrs. He was stoned to death for his witness to Christ. Stones are his symbol. Martyrs witness truth to the point of death.
Like the synagogue leaders who stoned Stephen, those who stone others today do so out of religious convictions gone awry. The purity that religious folks long for can be eclipsed by their means of executing justice. This is not only an ancient problem, check out The Stoning of Soraya M., a chilling modern film depicting the this form of “justice.”
As people named after Stephen, may we be as bold, as giving, and as forgiving in our witness and may we stand with those who are unjustly accused.
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.