“It’s for when I am tortured.”
She caught me staring at her wrists, which seemed to have some scarring that I couldn’t figure out.
“Excuse me?” My brain wasn’t registering.
My early church professor, a Coptic nun, lifted up her sleeves and showed me scars in the shape of a cross on the inside of each of her wrists. She then explained to me that it is common for Coptic Christians to tattoo or scar crosses on the inside of their wrists to remind them of their faith when they are tortured or killed for being Christians.
When they are tortured. When they are killed.
She wasn’t even the only professor on campus with a different Christian reality than those around them. There was another beloved professor with a noticeable limp and frequent health problems caused by the torture he received after his conversion to Christianity as a college student.
How ridiculous it must have been to be teaching all these predominately white, wealthy (especially among global standards) seminary students. How angry must they have been listening to our complaints about needing things to be fair or wanting special treatment.
I was reminded of these mentors yesterday when I heard about the martyrdom of the French priest, Jacques Hamel. It makes me sick to my stomach, but to die for the faith is as old as Christianity itself. I myself was named after the first Christian martyr, Stephen, whose story is told in the book of Acts. And almost anyone who has grown up in the church has heard the story of the early church martyrs.
It’s so real. It’s so foundational.
But I can’t help but ask myself, could I do it?
Seriously. Could I die or put myself up for torture for my faith?
When I say, “I believe”….do I actually mean it?
I honestly don’t know. And that’s sad.
Could you do it?
In My Sights This Week:
- DNC…LOVED Michelle Obama’s speech on the first night. Second hand embarrassment for that celebrity music video on the second night.
- I was also in love with this article on Mary Magdalene. What an interesting history of the church’s interpretation of her and her meaning to the church!