Sunday, December 16, 2007

Giving in Goodness

The sound of hooves at midnight- horsemen gal-
loping into the courtyard- and the clatter of armor
as soldiers surround the house wake the old man.
Two officers dismount and pound on the wooden
door with the butt ends of their spears.

Maids in disheveled nightclothes rush upstairs and
urge the white-haired fugitive to hide under the
bed, in a closet...anywhere. Instead, he hushes them.
drapes a cloak over his frail shoulder, descends the
stairs, opens the door and invites the men who have
come to arrest him inside.

He instructs the maids, "Quickly prepare hot food
and something to drink. Can't you see these men
have ridden hard tonight? They need refreshment;
give them the best in the house."

Confused by this unexpected reception, the arresting
officers crowd into the room and cluster around a
bronze charcoal brazier on the floor.

As they warm their numb hands against the cold
night of February 22, 166, Polycarp, elderly bishop
of Smyrna...makes every effort to see that his guests
are comfortable. He personally serves the officers
and soldiers alike from the warm dishes his maids
have prepared.

-A Woman's Walk With God, Elizabeth George, pg. 120

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