The English Martyrs

Today is Monday the 4 May the feast of the English Martyrs, in the fourth week of Easter.  

Salt of the Sound sings, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’. As you begin to pray today in these uncertain times, talk to the Lord about the ways in which you need him today…  

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.  

Matthew 10:17-20  

Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  

Today is the Feast of the English Martyrs. It celebrates the lives of many religious and lay people, who lived out their faith in a time of great persecution. They were witnesses in a time when many people were not able to live their lives freely; a time when being safe meant keeping to yourself. Does this speak to you about the times we are living in today? How might we be called, now, to be witnesses of God’s goodness?  

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus paints an uneasy picture. The Good News is not always welcomed with open arms. The right thing is not always the easy thing. Do you believe that the world rejects what is good? Are you afraid that I may be rejected or ridiculed?  Or are you afraid that you might not have ‘what it takes’ to bring God’s love to others.  

As you listen again, hear Jesus’ response, “do not worry”. You may feel anxious, but here is God’s love. You may feel unable to act but, see, God is guiding you. You may feel alone, but here is the Father’s Spirit resting in you. Allow that reassurance to heal and restore where it is needed.  

“It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you”. How does this phrase speak to you today? How might this image form your prayer as we draw to a close today?         

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.