During the final days of August the Church of England’s calendar of commemorations of saints has a fine cross section of characters, most of which we share with other churches but one of them is English and generally regarded as a Baptist. They are a varied bunch making up our Christian heritage, inspiring us on our own journey and praying for us in our daily struggles.
On Monday (27 August) we remember Monica, who is largely famous for being the mother of Augustine of Hippo, and for inculcating him with the Christian faith and keeping him out of trouble during his teenage years.
On Tuesday (28 August) it’s Augustine of Hippo’s turn – he was arguably the greatest Christian theologian since St Paul, re-enforcing one single truth: however bad you have been, it’s faith in Christ your Saviour that will set you free from your dark side.
Wednesday – for a change – we remember a New Testament event called the ‘Beheading of John the Baptist’, recorded in a particular gruesome way in Matthew 14,1-12.
On Thursday (30 August) we commemorate John Bunyan. He was a barely educated wandering odd-job man in the 17th century. He educated himself to read and write by reading the Bible. Because he was a non-conformist and early founder of Baptist churches he spent a considerable part of his life in prison during which time he wrote “Pilgrims Progress”, a greatly entertaining story of “Christian’s” journey through life in search of salvation.
And on Friday (31 August) it’s the turn of St Aidan, who was a missionary Bishop of Lindisfarne (7th century). He combined living as a monk on a remote off-shore island with converting Northumberland to Christianity.