December 25, 2013

Warning for Storytellers

Saint Stephen is considered the first martyr — the first Christian to perish as a result of his proclamation of the gospel. As I encounter the story year by year in the Daily Office, I can’t help but sympathize to some small extent with the rising anger the elders must have felt at his long retelling of the Sacred Story. “How dare this young pup lecture us on our own history!” they well might have said — in spite of the important role that repeating the tale held in their tradition.

That he had a Greek name, and likely a Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jew was also grating to these elders. And when, in the coda of his testimony, his language turned to prophetic invective, no doubt his fate was sealed.

Another young zealot, though of the opposing point of view, stood guard over the coats, and agreed with the slaughter. Saul himself would later sing from a different hymn-sheet, but at the stoning of Stephen, he stood firm with a smug sense of satisfaction that this upstart had been silenced.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
The image is from my continued efforts to portray the saints as “real people” and is modeled on my Brother Richard Edward.

1 comment:

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

And to this day the best deacons uphold the tradition of getting into trouble by pointing out inconvenient truths to the Church and others.

God bless Stephen and Deacons everywhere