“A mystic band of brotherhood makes all men one.” — Essays, Goethe’s Works by Thomas Carlyle
The dictionary defines brotherhood as a bond between brothers. As a female, I would suggest that it’s a bond between humans, a kind of kinship, fellowship, and union. Scripture (1 Peter 2:17) says, “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.” But in today’s world, where the focus seems to be more on the self and becoming all that one can be, where denigration is rampant, even in elementary school bullying, I think it’s appropriate to stop and ponder if we’ve lost track of what God is calling us to do and be.
Speaking of brotherhood, I’m willing to wager that most, if not all, do not know who Saints Crispin and his brother, Crispinian, are. They are venerated in The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches. Their feast day is approaching on the 25th of October. Because they lived in the 3rd century, many details of their lives have been lost.
Some say the brothers were born of a noble Roman family. Others say they lived in Canterbury. Both accounts have them preaching Christianity and giving aid to the poor and that they are the patron saints of shoemakers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers. Their legendary sainthood dates to the 8th century. One version has them fleeing Rome to Soisson, France, because of their faith, for having made many Christian converts. They supported themselves by shoemaking and gave aid to the poor. Their success attracted attention and they were tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks. They survived but were beheaded in 285. Their feast day was an occasion of solemn processions as well as merrymaking in which the guilds of shoemakers took the chief part.
Another version of their lives has them in England, again the brothers were shoemakers who preached Christianity. The day acquired additional significance on the day of the battle of Agincourt, October 25 in 1415, an event noted in around 1600 in Shakespeare’s Henry V, to rally English forces outnumbered by the French, saying the fewer the men, the greater share of honor. The speech was used again during WWII to raise British spirits. The speech goes on to say, “From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
Yes, birth does make some brothers/sisters kindred spirits. However, what really makes us all one is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Like Crispin and Crispinian, we are called to offer our aid to others who need it, to proclaim the Good News, and to love. Last Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune carried an article which stated that “Researchers say being nice to others can change the brain and behavior of genes.” Being nice, kind, and loving not only makes you healthier, but brings change in new and abundant life. No matter the century, the call is not mystic, but sacred. Not only October 25th, but all days, Honor The King, Love others and you will be One.
To God be the glory! Amen.