The Grace of God is Strength to Stand

December 26 2004 16:38 (+ 5 - 13 )

Rise again, ye lion-hearted Saints of early Christendom
Whither is your strength departed, Whither gone your martyrdom?
Lo, love's light is on them, Glory's flame upon them,
And their will to die doth quell, E'en the lord and prince of hell.

These the men by fear unshaken, Facing danger dauntlessly;
These no witching lust hath taken, Lust that lures to vanity.
Mid the roar and rattle Of tumultuous battle
In desire they soar above All that earth would have them love.

Great of heart, they know no turning, Honor, gold, they laugh to scorn,
Quench desires within them burning, By no earthly passion torn.
Mid the lion's roaring Songs of praise outpouring,
Joyously they take their stand On th'arena's bloody sand.

Would to God that I might even As the martyred saints of old,
With the helping hand of Heaven, Steadfast stand in battle bold!
O my God, I pray Thee, In the combat stay me.
Grant that I may ever be Loyal, staunch, and true to Thee. Amen.

Rise Again, Ye Lion-Hearted (The Lutheran Hymnal #470)

God grants grace to stand in the strength of tumultuous battle--the battle against the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh. Though there be things here that draw us to them and bring us to lust, God's grace is far stronger, and it is strength to stand against all the assaults that Christians do withstand. Though there be pressure to waver, to accept all manner of falsehood and immorality, yet these lead only to death. God's grace and strength are given so that Christendom can stand against it. And God's Word is sure--His promise certain--He will not forsake His Church. The Church militant, assaulted on all sides by all manner of evil, can and does stand firm on God's Word.

Hence, she prays to God looking back at the martyred saints. These noble men and women, who in the face of trial and temptation, would rather face death by sword than face the Death of Hell, are examples of upright living--examples of the strength and grace of God. Therefore, the Church prays earnestly to Her Father that He would grant Her members such faith and zeal for Him, that when the time comes that we should face the sword, we would meet death willingly, knowing that by Him and from Him is Life Eternal.

May Her prayer be granted this day--St. Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr--and every day until He comes again...

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