Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 08, 2012

Random Anabaptist Martyrs . . . And Why They’re Far From Random

The word “random” somehow implies that someone was unimportant . . . they were chosen by chance. Yet the random Protestant martyrs I choose to highlight here are far more precious in God’s eyes --- and in the eyes of those who long to remember them --- than could ever be said. Often these names just “jump out” at me and their stories beg to be told. Yesterday I was poking around “Martyrs’ Mirror” and found the following witnesses:

Marcus Eder, whose age is unknown, found himself imprisoned in 1605 for professing the Anabaptist faith. Local officials “brought out the big guns” by sending a few influential Jesuits to beseech him and his fellow prisoner Hans Poltzinger to take up Catholicism. In those days the Jesuits were well-known for their hatred of everything Protestant, and the arrival of such men must have brought great fear. Yet Marcus, holding onto that quiet steadfastness for which so many of the early martyrs were known, brushed off their entreaties.

He suffered great torment not only due to his faith but also so his captors might know the names of his accomplices. They got nothing out of him. Marcus was quite adamant against accepting the Catholic faith, clearly and patiently naming the reasons he could not bring himself to do so, without fear of what might be done to him. He was killed on April 24, 1605 and his body was later burned. His last words concerned his “brother,” fellow Anabaptist Hans Poltzinger: “God be praised, my brother has overcome; and I will do likewise.”

I also chose a woman to commemorate. Though she was not killed for her beliefs, she suffered horrendous tortures in the name of Anabaptism. Her name was Anna (Bar) Meili. Born in November 1618, about twenty years old at the time of her imprisonment, she was apprehended just after giving birth to daughter Verena and was subsequently starved and tormented. Her captors excelled in physical abuse. While men bore the brunt of it, women were subjected to it as well.

While many young women might have been tempted to give in for the sake of their children, Anna understood that Christ came first, even though it hurt her heart to be away from her little ones. Providence smiled upon her and her captors released her. Yet after returning to her family and joyfully awaiting the birth of another child, she was again imprisoned. Anna was no fool. She knew she was soon to give birth and she used this as a way to escape. She birthed her son Jacob in 1639 and fled her chains.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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