The great ordeal John writes of in this letter from exile in Patmos is the persecution of the church. It’s a real and living threat to Christians in the first century. If you were to join up with the Anabaptists in the sixteenth century, there was a very good chance this would get you killed. There is a collection of the stories of Anabaptists being killed recorded in the Martyrs Mirror.
In our day, reports coming from the center of the ongoing devastation in Gaza consistently refer to the dead as martyrs.
This world is dangerous. If you live like people aren’t just things, or tools to build wealth and power, if you live like this, really live like it, it might get you killed.
On All Saints Day, we remember that many, many people before us have borne witness to this radical kind of love with their lives. Others have gone before us who help us now to say, “Salvation belongs to our God.” They help us believe that this love will never end.