Martyrdom is not pretty. Who ever it happens to, for whatever reason, at whatever time, it is horrific. Death is the ultimate penalty that we humans can think of but humiliation added to death seems to be our favorite modus operandi.
Yet, Jesus' humiliating death was transformative. Death, no matter what its form, now elevates, enobles, and lifts us up. It now gives meaning to life rather than taking it away. Death is what saves us and for us as individuals, presents us to that salvation.
Today specifically celebrates many martyrs of the Reformation from around the world, but all month long let us celebrate the many martyrs, strive to see death as liberating and understand it as God understands it. When we took on death in the Garden it is God who made it have meaning and purpose.
We do well to remember that anger, hatred, and fear have no place in our heart, are ineffective against truth, and serve no purpose to God - but that God can, and will, transform our sinfulness to His own ends.
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if to others, indeed, they seem punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
-- Wisdom 3:1-6
Things to Think About