Something for Sunday Morning
The spiritual state of stillness has fortified Christians throughout history. The teenage Origen (the first great Christian intellectual) stationed himself on the road where Christian martyrs were being led to their deaths and defied the Romans by saluting the victims with a kiss. When a minion of the Arian emperor Valens flashed a sword in St. Basil's face and threatened to cut out his liver if St. Basil did not embrace the Arian heresy, St. Basil smiled and said he would be grateful if the Arians took his liver because it caused him pain. St. Francis of Assisi journeyed to Egypt in the middle of the Fifth Crusade and walked into Saracen territory to convert the “Soldan of Babylon” (the Muslim ruler of Egypt and the Holy Land), even though the Soldan had issued an edict offering a gold piece for the head of any Christian. Early Christian missionaries such as St. Boniface preached to fierce pagan tribes in northern Europe; later Christian missionaries sought the souls of cannibals in Africa. Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer calmly accepted hanging in the Flossenburg concentration camp instead of obeying the Nazis.