But there aren't just people of the ancients who stood their ground, and the autumn leaves seem to me to be a memorial to all those who sacrificed their lives so that we could have freedom to worship the One True God.
I have written of Bonhoeffer often, but today I was made aware of another man of God in Germany during the Nazi regime. He was one of the first to stand against the tide of evil and was martyred for his faith. Paul Robert Schneider, seems to be one of the unsung heroes of our faith. There are thousands; and thousands more being added daily.
Heretofore, persecution of Christians has occurred on foreign shores, but we can't assume that it will never happen here, any more than we could assume there would never be a terrorist attack in the United States. 9/11 is in the past now, but it is forever etched in our national consciousness like an ugly scar. We must remember that which we thought would never happen has happened.
And so it will be with Christian persecution in the U.S.
But that should not cause us fear. We know the Lord is with us. Yes, martyrdom is frightening to think about, but God reminds us to look to him and he will take care of us. If we die, we will actually be ushered into our eternity with Him.
When I see the leaves of autumn, I think of those who have given their lives for our Faith and I want to honor their memories, even if I don't know all their names. There is an old hymn that says, "Our fathers chained in prisons dark/were still in heart and conscience free/how sweet would be their children's faith/if they like them/would die for Thee".
Lord, grant me the faith of our fathers.
"Thus says the Lord: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls…'" Jeremiah 6:16