We can’t always know what is happening behind the scenes. Often,
years later we hear the story-behind-the-story. Macrina (340-379), a
monastic and teacher, is at the heart of one of those stories. Macrina
founded one of the earliest Christian communities in the city of Pontus
(Near Armenia). Although she left behind no writings, Macrina was highly
influential in the development of three of the great Bishops of the
early Christian faith: Gregory of Nyssa (her brother), Peter of Sebaste,
and Basil the Great.
These names may not be familiar to you, but they are a few of
the individuals that formed the early Christian traditions, upon which
Christian practice rests today. Gregory wrote that these and others
often consulted with Macrina on matters of theology and faith. Macrina
continued to teach and encourage on her death bed, which was no more
than two planks of wood lying on a dirt floor.
Oklahoma is the proud home of David Pendleton Oakerhater
(O-kuh-ha-tuh) (1847-1931), who was a Cheyenne warrior early in life,
then having “found a new way”, became a spiritual leader, artist, and
Episcopal Deacon. Oakerhater worked as a missionary in Oklahoma
Territory, and in 1985 became the first Native American Anglican to be
included in the prayers of Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal
Church. Learning the often-untold history of the Christian faith helps
us to recognize that we follow in big footsteps as Christians.
Although we cannot follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who said:
“You cannot come where I am going.” (John 8:21), we do follow in the
footsteps of the billions of followers of Jesus Christ that have lived
and died in the faith. Many suffered torture and execution for refusing
to renounce their Christian faith.
I encourage any Christian to read the stories of the giants of
the Christian faith. One resource is a book entitled, “Holy Women, Holy
Men” by Church Publishing Corporation. These brief entries will open to
you a door of knowledge and strengthened faith by reading about our
The message of Jesus Christ and the work of the Church did not
stop at Acts chapter 28 (Nice one, Two Rivers). God continues to work
today. Jesus continues to be with us as we gather and pray. The Holy
Spirit enlivens and renews us. One God, forever and ever.
Blessings and Peace to You,
ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
555 E. Third Street | Grove, OK 74344