Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Geleazium’s Stand

"Death is much sweeter to me with the testimony of truth than life with the least denial" - Geleazium, martyred in St. Angelo, Italy, Middle Ages

I searched the Web to find out more about this martyr in the hopes of understanding his story a little better. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find anything except his final quote. I guess the Internet isn’t as big as I thought.

So, I decided to reflect on his statement a bit and see where it took me. I think it’s safe to draw the conclusion that Geleazium was asked to recant his Christian faith before being killed, and his response was to reject that opportunity in favor of death. Imagine the temerity that such an act would require. How many professing Christians today would be able to do the same?

Also, consider Geleazium’s perspectives on both eternity and the importance of truth. He had a clear enough grasp of both to know that a few minutes or hours of pain would be worth what follows. I am often in awe of just how close to my eternal destination my life is. One car wreck, one defective brain blood vessel, or one incorrectly labeled prescription medicine is all that stands between me and eternity in heaven. I could be in heaven before I finish writing this sentence. I need to be reminded about this fact often, because it puts everything into a different perspective.

Finally, do I cling to truth above all? Would I be able to do the same as Geleazium if faced with the identical opportunity? Is truth more important to me than life itself? Clearly, others have had the strength to make this stand, and are now enjoying the reward that comes with it.

I strongly recommend the book “Jesus Freaks: Martyrs – Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus: The Ultimate Jesus Freaks”, copyright 1999 by Bethany House Publishers. There are some poignant tales in this book, that will make you think twice about the solidity of your faith, and the importance of discovering what really matters. We often read these stories to our children during our evening family worship time, though many of them are difficult and have unhappy endings. But we share the martyr’s experiences because it is exactly the attitude of Geleazium that I want to instill in my children.

If anyone has any more information about Geleazium, please reply with a comment.