Ordinary Time: Proper 28

Burial alive of Anneke van den Hove, Brussels, 1597. Engraving by Jan Luiken in Martyrs Mirror, v. 2, p. 793 of Dutch edition. Source: Rijksmuseum.

November 13, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C

Isaiah 65:17-25 and Isaiah 12 • Malachi 4:1-2a and Psalm 98 • 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 • Luke 21:5-19

View Lectionary

…they will capture you and persecute you. They’ll send you to synagogues for trial and to prisons for punishment; you’ll stand before kings and government officials for the sake of My name. This will be your opportunity—your opportunity to tell your story. Make up your mind in advance not to plan your strategy for answering their questions, for when the time comes, I will give you the words to say— wise words — which none of your adversaries will be able to answer or argue against. Your own parents, brothers, relatives, and friends will turn on you and turn you in. Some of you will be killed, and all of you will be hated by everyone for the sake of My name. But whatever happens, not a single hair of your heads will be harmed. By enduring all of these things, you will find not loss but gain — not death but authentic life. — Luke 21:12-18

The largest volume on my bookshelves is Martyrs Mirror, a compilation of stories of Christians and Anabaptists who suffered martyrdom from Christianity’s beginning through the Protestant Reformation. The book contains plate illustrations for a select number of these accounts.

Anneke van den Hove was arrested for belonging to the Anabaptist Christians of Brussels, Belgium and imprisoned for close to 3 years. When she was offered another 6 months to deeply consider recanting her beliefs, she refused saying they should do what seemed good to them. In 1597, Anneke was dragged outside the city of Brussels and put into a pit that had just been dug. As the dirt was being thrown in on top of her, she was asked whether she would recant. “No.” Anneke answered. The priests continued to threaten that not only would she suffer death by being buried alive, she would also endure the eternal pain of hell.

“[Anneke] answered that she had peace in her conscience, being well assured that she died saved, and had to expect the eternal, imperishable life, full of joy and gladness in heaven with God and all His saints… Hence they at last threw much additional earth and sods upon her face and whole body, and stamped with their feet upon it, in order that she should die the sooner. This was the end of this pious heroine of Jesus Christ, who gave her body to the earth, that her soul might obtain heaven…” — Martyrs Mirror, p. 1093

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

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