Thursday, July 23, 2015

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: First Martyr Stephen and Witnessing to the Truth

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Martyr Stephen and Witnessing to the Truth

Children in trouble often hear, "Now tell me the truth!" St. Paul in his letter to the the Philippians encourages believers to dwell on "whatever is true." On the other hand, Michael Caine in the movie The Prestige insists people want to be fooled, and Pontius Pilate asks Jesus, "What is truth?"

And while we, generally, insist we want "just the facts, ma'am," and even in court are exhorted to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," in truth, we often prefer to hear, and tell, a pretty half-lie ('cuz everyone know outright lies are wrong) than to deal with the repercussions of speaking and acting in complete truth, and that's even assuming we've taken the time to seek out only truth.

Of course, some people wield truth as a weapon, ("Hell, yeah! That dress makes you look fat!") while others flee from staring naked stark truth in the eye (perhaps for reasons of guilt, shame, etc.), even though Jesus tells us truth will set us free, since doing so often requires an uncomfortable "manning up" to meet a particular challenge, when a turning of the head or a closing of the eyes would be sooooooo much easier.

This is particularly evident in Bryony, where the Reverend Sandy D. Costa, in her forward, points out that Melissa "cannot look at her nocturnal friends out of her peripheral vision for then she sees them as they truly are," and that she "makes a solemn vow before she looks at John Simons from all angles." Even Henry admits its less riskier to live half a life, even if its beastly and predatory, than to assume the responsibility of being honestly dead.

Today, in the Eastern Christian churches (yesterday in the Western churches) we celebrate the feast day of protomartyr Stephen, one of the original seven deacons of the early church and one who much preferred to be stoned than compromise one word of the truth to which he had been entrusted.

Certainly, his courage at upholding the truth is commendable at worst and inspirational at best, especially during a time when hard news is often watered down and sprinkled with a reporter's opinions, rendering it viritually indistinguishable from a blog, opinion is flaunted as fact, and diversity (merely for diversity's sake and not in any quest for truth) in thinking is extolled.

"Truth, like gold, is to be obtained, not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold." Leo Tolstoy.

May we all be lovers, pursuers, doers, and hearers of truth...and may we all have the courage to remove prejudices from our minds and hearts to be open to truth and all the opportunities it brings.

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