A field guide to renewers, reformers & martyrs recognized and commemorated by
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Sunday, July 25, 2010

James, Apostle

James, son of Zebedee, was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, and brother of the apostle John (Jesus nicknamed them “The Brothers of Thunder”). He was one of the first disciples to join Jesus. James witnessed the resurrected Christ at the lake of Tiberias, and was one of the disciples in the upper room following Jesus’ ascension. According to Acts, James was executed by King Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Birgitta of Sweden, Renewer of the Church

Birgitta of Sweden was born in the province of Upland in 1303. As a child, she was frequented by visions of the suffering Christ. She was married at age thirteen and had four daughters. She was well known for her generosity and kindness. In 1335 she became chief lady in waiting to the Queen of Sweden. Following the death of her husband in 1341, she gave away all she owned and devoted her life to the poor and needy. In 1351 she founded the Order of the Holy Savior (the Birgittines), an order of monks and nuns led by an abbess. Her charitable work is carried on today by the Society of St. Birgitta. She died in Rome on July 23, 1373

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mary Magdalene, Apostle

Mary Magdalene (or Mary of Magdala) was a devoted follower of Jesus. She was a witness to the crucifixion and to the burial of Jesus. She is often referred to as "the apostle to the apostles," because she was the first to see the Risen Christ and share the news with other disciples.

One version of a popular legend has Mary Magdalene placing a basket of eggs at the foot of the cross where they are painted red by Christ's blood. Mary then presents the blood red eggs to Tiberius Ceasar. For countless generations Christians have been sharing painted eggs. Eastern Orthodox Christians proclaim, "Christ is Risen!" when they share an egg. The recipient responds with,"Truly, He is Risen!"

According to the Greek Church, Mary Magdalene moved from Rome to Ephesus where she lived until her death.