“You have turned my wailing into dancing.” Psalm 30:11
Dear Redeemer Family:
We are now in the Season of Easter. And one of the themes of the Season of Easter is upon the
witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. It is important to remember that we are not alone. We are
“surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” This month, there are some important witnesses who
we commemorate, so I share a couple of them with you.
On May 1, we remember Philip and James, Apostles. If you remember the story, Philip was one of
the first disciples of Jesus, after following Jesus for a fairly short time, he invited Nathanael to “come
and see” Jesus, which also makes Philip one of the first evangelists. According to tradition, Philip
preached in Asia Minor and died a martyr’s death in Phrygia. He and his four daughters, who were all
prophets, were buried in Ephesus. James, the son of Alphaeus, is called “the Less” (meaning “short”
or “younger”) to distinguish him from the apostle James “the Great” who is commemorated on July 25.
Philip and James are commemorated together on May 1 because it was on this date in 561 that
their remains were placed in the Church of the Apostles in Rome.
On May 2 we commemorate St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who died on this date in the year 373.
Many of you know his name because of the Creed which bears his name. although he did not
write it, it is believed to describe his beliefs. Athanasius was at the Council of Nicea in 325 as a
deacon and secretary to the then Bishop of Alexandria. At the council, and when he himself served as
Bishop of Alexandria, he defended the full divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy held by the
emperor, magistrates and some of the other theologians. It was because of his defense of the divinity
of Christ that he was considered a troublemaker. And even though he was the Bishop of Alexandria,
he was banished from his post five times. Indeed, he only sat in his post as Bishop there for a couple
of months. But, as bishop, one of his letters to the neighboring bishops gives a list for books which he
believed should be included in the Scriptures. In his letters, he lists all twenty-seven New Testament
books that are in the Bible. Don’t underestimate his enduring influence upon the Church.
These are just a few of the “saints who have gone before us” that we remember this month. But we
should remember them as we too seek to follow our Lord’s footsteps.
He is risen. He is risen, indeed.