From the Sept/Oct, 2011 issue of Touchstone
The Suffering Church by James M. Kushiner

The Suffering Church

Mere Christianity Is Fundamentally Cruciform

One of the prayers of the First Hour of the Orthodox Daily Office begins: “The universe offers you the God-bearing martyrs as the first fruits of creation, O Lord and Creator.” Tertullian’s oft-quoted line comes to mind, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” In both it is suggested that the martyr is the one closest to the essence of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Christian martyrs are likened to seed or first fruits—both the beginning and the end of the life in Christ. They are the fertile signs of the coming kingdom of God.

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