Sunday, May 24, 2015
It has probably happened a lot more than I can recall, but this I cannot remember a time when Pentecost and Memorial Day so closely overlapped.
Memorial Day is the time when we as Americans remember the sacrifice of those men and women who came before us and laid down their lives on the altar of freedom for our country. The Jewish idea of "remembering" is not simply recollection; it is to make the past present. When we "remember" we bring those from the past present to our lives.
And I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to remember those who were in the upper room at Pentecost. They received the Holy Spirit and were called to go forth and lay down their lives on the altar of freedom: freedom from sin and death.
And what happened to them all?
The Virgin Mary lived out her natural life and was eventually Assumed body and soul into Heaven.
But what about the remaining 12?
44 AD - James the Greater is beheaded by Herod Agrippa
51 AD - Matthias, Judas Iscariot's replacement, is stoned to death and beheaded in Jerusalem.
60 AD - on November 30th, Andrew is dies on a decussate cross in Greece
62 AD - Bartholomew (Nathaniel) is skinned alive and crucified in modern day Iran
67 AD - Peter is condemned to crucifixion under Nero. After stating that he was not worthy die the same way as the Lord, the Romans crucify our first pope upside-down on Vatican Hill.
72 AD - After walking all the way to India, Thomas is stabbed to death.
79 AD - Jude Thaddeus and Simon are murdered in modern day Iran.
90 AD - Philip is also crucified upside-down, but this time in modern day Turkey.
90 AD - Matthew dies, but we have conflicting reports. Either he was stabbed in the back in Ethiopia or he was crucified and burned alive in modern day Iran or he died of natural causes. There is no definitive history.
98 AD - John dies a natural death in Ephesus after being exiled to the island of Patmos for the Gospel.
When the Holy Spirit fell upon them, for most it was a death sentence. The cost of giving us the Good News would be there lives.
And they did so willingly and without regret.
What has the Gospel ever cost me?
What has the Gospel ever cost you?
At the very least today, we can remember them and the price that was paid so we could have the joy of knowing Jesus.