Martyrdom is alive and well. From the witness of Sister Dorothy Stang in the Amazonian jungle to the hovering threat of execution for a Sudanese woman (whose alleged crime was converting to Christianity), what we think of as an ancient and lamentable practice has shown no abating.
Of the approximate 70 million people who have laid down their lives for the faith, nearly 65% did so in the 20thcentury and our own is off to a bloody start.
The story of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag is that of a young woman in the new nation of South Sudan sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Newly married to a Christian, she was originally charged with adultery (South Sudan’s version of sharia law does not recognize marriages to non-Muslims); the charges were upped to apostasy when she admitted to being Christian.
She has been sentenced to 100 lashes and death. The sentence was suspended during her pregnancy, which ended today with the birth of a baby girl. Upon her recovery, it is expected that the flogging will be carried out; the death sentence may yet be appealed.
She lives in prison with her new daughter and 20-month-old son, awaiting their fate.
Whatever inconveniences you face today, take a moment to pray for this brave woman and her family and thank God you can still thank God.
Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman, freedigitalphotos.net.