Monday, August 22, 2005

Mercy in the Massacre

The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre is a tragic event. It saw the extinguishing of many great lights in the church. But, even in these darkest hours mercy from God can be seen. There are stories of the governors who would not carry out orders to murder French citizens simply for the religious belief. Some governors did not believe that the King actually made the order because it was too appalling. The Governor of Auvergne would not act unless the King himself came and participated. The Governor of Baronne received a handwritten note from the King, but still would not obey. He claimed, “I have committed your Majesty’s orders to your faithful inhabitants, and to the troops in the garrison. I have found them good citizens and brave soldiers, but not one executioner.”

Other stories of God’s great grace can be found. My favorite is Peter Merlin. Rev. Peter Merlin ministered to the church in the family of Admiral Coligny. Men from the king came to hunt down this minister of the Reformed Faith. Merlin jumped from his window when they broke down his door. He then ran from the King’s men, and took shelter in a hen house. He slept on the hay with the chickens for three days. The first day a certain hen came over next to Peter, and laid a single egg. She then left the egg. Peter Merlin, with thanksgiving, ate the egg. The same hen returned the next morning. She laid an egg, and left it for Merlin to eat again. The third day, the hen returned and laid the egg for Merlin. By this time the murderous rage had subsided and Merlin felt safe enough to venture out of the hen house. Yet, he never forgot the hen who laid an egg for him to eat every morning while he hid from certain death.

In this country we can talk about the church and its troubles. Whether or not the state is going to overturn Roe v Wade or whether or not the state will allow same sex marriage often dominate the discussions today. Yet, it all seems to pale in comparison when placed in its proper historical context. We can start to worry about the government of America when we have to hide in hen houses to escape death.