Thursday, June 3, 2010

Martyrs everywhere, on the feast of the Martyrs of Uganda

The first few days of June are packed full of martyrs.

June 1: Justin, commonly known as Justin Martyr
June 2: Blandina and her Companions, aka the Martyrs of Lyon - 48 of them.
June 3: the Martyrs of Uganda - 32 of them
June 4: we get a day off
June 5: Boniface, Archbishop and Martyr

Martyrs through the ages, from Justin in 167 to Uganda in 1886. Men and women, church leaders and new converts, very young and very old. And a good chunk of them servants or slaves.

What does it mean? I have been asking myself. What does martyrdom mean? How do we interpret their roles and their lives? Should they be interpreted at all? On Margaret's blog she highlights how

These young men and boys [the martyrs of Uganda] are now celebrated as the heroes of those who hate homosexuals... these youngsters refused to submit to rape.

Too bad these martyrs are not remembered and celebrated as ones who sang and prayed for their persecutors.... instead, the power of what they suffered still holds sway....

It's that last sentence that put it in place for me, or at least raises a different question: How do we shake off the power suffering holds over us? What do the martyrs have to tell us about that?

More to think about.

In a side note, I did want to point out that both Blandina and Charles Lwanga are patron saints of torture victims. June is Torture Awareness Month with the United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims on June 26. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has suggestions for marking this month in your congregation, if you are so inclined.

1 comment:

it's margaret said...

"How do we shake off the power suffering holds over us?"

Aye matey. There's a good un'.

thanks for these other links.