Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012

 No Time Too Long

“Why study the Protestant Reformation? Why remember the martyrs and the massacres and all the things our ancestors suffered? It was all so long ago!” Ever heard anything like this? If you are a student of religion, a historian, or at least aspiring to either of these, you understand that these questions are irrelevant to you. Many of us “feel” the past. When we write, debate, remember, and honor, it is as if we are right there with our spiritual predecessors, smelling the blood and feeling the fear and seeing the horrors of intolerance. It does not matter how “long ago” it was, does it? For instance, if one’s grandparent died fifty years ago, is there a cut-off date to when it is no longer proper to remember? If a person means something to us, if we cannot bear for him or her to be forgotten, there is never such a date.

We remember famous figures in world history every day. We talk about the Twelve Apostles. About William Shakespeare and Thomas Edison and Julius Caesar. Just because they were born hundreds or even thousands of years ago, is that any reason to stop remembering them? For Protestant Christians, it’s personal. Those are our spiritual forerunners and, in many cases, our ancestors. We have a unique heritage and feel increasingly close to them and to their struggles. When we write, we picture the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and the Wars of Religion. We feel caught up in their story. They died for the Protestant faiths that we can freely practice.

That’s right. Our ancestors died. They gave up their lives for their faith. That will always be worth remembering. And, having made such a sacrifice, they would expect their descendants to do something as simple as remember them. On a separate note, as I often said, I have always felt great sorrow that the story of the French Protestants martyred in 1565 near St. Augustine, Florida is not better known. These facts are often obscured if not downright ignored. I have often heard people say things like “it was so long ago, get over it,” and things of that nature. But these were human beings with names, faces, identities, and lives. Why is there a time in history that we must suddenly “forget”?

They deserve better than that.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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