Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012

Often while I am researching the 1500s and the Reformation era, I think of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, and it brings tears to my eyes. It is an utterly disturbing thought that we should forget the horrific massacres that colored Protestant history. The St. Bartholomew’s stands out as “the Big One.” Thousands of nameless victims were slaughtered in Paris and beyond. French Protestants must have believed the world was ending. They were massacred simply for their faith, by the same men they had likely spoken with and exchanged pleasantries with just a few hours before. Few crimes against our Reformation predecessors of various denominations and perhaps even against our ancestors have been so great, and this event must never be forgotten. 

Following is a poem I wrote:

The Stones Cry Out
(c) Joyously Saved

Where did the houses stand, tottering half-timbers, in that hot August of 1572?
The homes where visiting Huguenot families dreamed grand dreams
And were so violently awakened at the bell’s toll and the assassin’s knock?
Are their foundations still soaked with blood, silent ghosts clawing at the stones?
How long did the screams echo as men and women were cut down one by one?
Risen from bed in nightshirts or naked, killed in their own peaceful chambers
Or dragged to the shadow-darkened blood-drenched streets and silenced?

Where was justice to acquit them of the non-crime of Protestantism?
Where did the blood of innocents flow, washed down the grimy streets
Numbly watched by uncaring passers-by who marveled at the sight?
Where are the ancient stone walls against which the blood was splashed
And the foundations where the slain were once heaped with abandon?
When did twisting medieval streets once choked with the dead become clean
When did the horrific sights of endless injustice and carnage end?

Where did their earthly temples go, unceremoniously buried by laughing laborers?
Why is there no trace of the massacre in today’s bright and precocious Paris
And no overwhelming desire to remember and mourn for the dead?
Grand old Saint-German l’Auxerrois still stands, thinking herself absolved
From her turrets rang the bell that began a massacre without parallel
Smugly she overshadows Parisian streets; did the walls cry out in protest?

How many other foundations remain, bloodstained and spirit-choked
As witnesses to the horrific “cleansing” Parisian zealots so desired?
Or has the old given way to the new and such notions been lost?
Where did they fall? Where did they cry out? Where did their souls take flight?
Where did they pass from the living to the dead, to Christ’s unending mercy?

Where did the inferno break loose on earth, urged on by the spirit of destruction?

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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