November 11, 2021

November 11 - St. Martin's Day

Saint Martin lived in the fourth century. Born in present-day Hungary and spent most of his adult life in what is today France. He became a Christian at an early age and was enlisted in the Roman army.  One day while in the Gallic provinces in what is today central Germany, the future saint was ordered to participate in a battle. But in the belief that shedding blood was not consonant with his deep Christian convictions, Martin bravely declared, "I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight."

For this shocking refusal to submit to this duty assigned to him, he was imprisoned and charged with cowardice, but he turned this charge on its head by then volunteering to go to the front lines unarmed, because he did not fear for his life, only that he might take the life of another.  In the end, the battle did not take place, and he was released from duty, shortly thereafter becoming a monk.   

Centuries later, a newborn who was baptized on St. Martin's Day was named after Martin - Martin Luther.  And centuries later, in 1934, an African American pastor named Michael King traveled to Germany and became so impressed with what he learned about the reformer Martin Luther that he decided to change his named to Martin.  Not only his name, but also the name of his five-year-old son as well.  The son became known to the world as Martin Luther King Jr.  
 [from Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas]