I had forgotten if I ever knew that Martin Luther died on February 18, 1546. Wednesday night as we observed Ash Wednesday we would also have commemorated the death of the great reformer. Matthew Harrison the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, took the dual opportunity of February 18, 2015 to speak about the events taking place in the mid-East and here at home and the issues of martyrdom and Islamic militancy. Tertullian of Carthage wrote the famous quote about the blood of martyrs not far from where Coptic Christians were recently murdered by ISIS. President Harrison remarks on martyrdom, the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and leaves us all much food for thought. You can read his whole article on http://wmltblog.org/2015/02/the-blood-of-the-martyrs/
Here is the last few paragraphs of this fascinating article.
“By all accounts, Christianity in America is following the path it has taken in Europe. Luther, whose death we commemorate today (February 18), prophesied that the Gospel is like a passing rain shower, which comes for a time and then leaves. He correctly foretold that after a time in Germany, the Gospel would leave, and they would have Islam. That is coming true today, even as many German Muslims are converting to Christianity. The reason the Gospel passes away, according to Luther? Thanklessness (Luther’s Works, 23:261). On this Ash Wednesday, and during this Lententide, may the horrid events of the past days in Libya and beyond, remind us of what a precious treasure the Gospel is and the freedom to believe and act upon it as we see fit. Lord, have mercy upon us, and grant us ever thankful hearts.” Matthew C. Harrison Ash Wednesday February 18, 2015