When your patron is a martyr, you know you’re in for a challenge. When that martyr mimics Jesus’s challenge to the religious leaders, well…
Stephen and a scandalous gospel
The Feast of Stephen | Acts 6:8-7:2a,51c-60
Today we remember Stephen, who the author of Acts describes as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” and “his face was like the face of an angel.”
The tradition honors him as the first deacon and the first martyr. Which, if we’re counting odds, makes me wonder why any of us would step up to serve after that. Seriously, they went 1-for-1 right out of the gate! And worse than that, Scripture doesn’t give the impression that he was in this specific ministry long. I don’t think he made it to his wood anniversary. Maybe it was stone. Maybe garnet.
While the story of Stephen is pretty straightforward—he’s one of seven deacons God called to help serve the expanding reach of the Good News and was tried and stoned to death for blasphemy—the questions of why remain. Why has the church chosen to honor him on December 26th? And why do we follow him as our patron? …
The full text may be found here.
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