Lately I have been reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s not for the faint of heart–or the weak of stomach. The persecution of so many of the faith since the very beginning gives me pause. These believers were, like the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, ones “of whom the world was not worthy.” Their perseverance under trial is a model for those of us today. We, in America, live mostly persecution-free lives, but there is no guarantee that the norm of today will remain the norm of tomorrow.
So, if or when that persecution comes, let us remember this: we are blessed, and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to us!
This next poem is based on that Beatitude: “ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is a four stanza poem, written in trochaic tetrameter: /x/x/x/x, form ABAB.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Beaten and abused, ill-treated,
Though you never gave them cause,
Pushed around, exploited, cheated,
–Not for breaking any laws–
Only for the path you followed,
Seeking Truth and giving Grace,
Trusting in that Name, so hallowed,
Glory shining in your face.
Righteousness that made them spiteful,
Goodness that brought out their worst,
Now you’ve suffered for what’s rightful,
Like the prophets from the first.
Lift your heads up, all afflicted,
Know there comes another day,
When the Kingdom, as predicted
Comes into your hands to stay.