April 23, 2015 in Church News
Today is St. George’s Day. How much do you know about this early Christian martyr? In Baton Rouge, he is probably most well-known as the namesake for a local church and school as well as a Village (and the intended name for a new city you have probably heard about…). But what about the man? St. George is most often depicted as you see in the statue above–fighting off a dragon. It is a great story. George rides into town a saves a princess from being sacrificed to a dragon who guarded the local water supply. But that is all that it is…a story, a myth. Unfortunately, this legend most likely overshadows the true story of St. George, which is really more inspiring than the story of slaying a dragon.
St. George was a Roman soldier in the time of the Emperor Diocletian. George’s father was one of Diocletian’s finest soldiers and George himself rose to the rank of Tribunus. He was also a Christian. In 303 AD, Diocletian issued an edict that all Christians in his army should be arrested and all others should pay tribute to the Roman gods. George spoke out publicly against this decree. Diocletian tried to silence George and get him to renounce his faith, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves. But George would not back down. For this reason, Diocletian ordered that he be executed. Before that happened, he was brutally tortured. And on April 23rd, he was beheaded before the city wall.
St. George knew what it meant to put his Lord before his very life. Today, we can honor him by striving to do the same. This means taking the first commandment to heart: that we fear, love and trust in God above ALL things. Perhaps we will not be called upon as martyrs for our faith (although that thought isn’t completely far-fetched today, is it?). However, we all have the opportunity to take a stand for the Word of God by the way we live our lives and speak our faith to those around us. May God give us the courage of conviction that he has given to the many martyrs who have gone before us and may we honor Him with our words and thoughts today.