A woman called Calista had a dream
That she should rescue a child who was a slave
From two men at the city gate she bought the boy
Made him her son; her name to him she gave.
Each day he grew in grace and wisdom
Learning at the feet of the Apostle John
Witnessed by those who walked with Christ
All the things he heard he pondered on.
Talking and telling, beneath a sky of blue,
Soft wind chased the clouds and swirled the sand.
With eager ears he listened to the great apostle
Young and eager, drinking in each word.
John told him there the message of the Saviour
Of all the things He did and all He said
Deep within his heart he felt the Spirit move
The words he heard, a new disciple made.
Now many years have passed since those days.
He stood for truth and doctrine pure and strong.
As Bishop now he led the Church at Smyrna
But persecution came before too long.
His deacons led him to a place of safety
Where he could lay in peace, his hoary head
The flames in dreams consumed his pillow
The heart of a lesser man would shrink in dread.
When morning came he told his friends the news,
God has revealed to me that I must burn
We must go at once to face accusers
To the right or left we must not turn.
Even the stern prosecutor took pity on him.
Was touched by this aged, Godly man
Won't you just once say that Caesar is Lord
Renounce this man, Jesus, if you can.
For eighty six years have I served him
How could I then deny my Lord and King.
He has never done me any wrong since
I walked with John and listened to his word.
Sadly the prosecutor made his judgement
Seeing that Polycarp could not be turned.
The angry flames surround but don't consume
His feeble frame unscathed remained unburned.
I wonder today how many would stand
All we who are called by His name.
So many have suffered a martyr's death
Could we ever do the same?
Polycarp lived between 70 and 155 A.D. He learned from the Apostle John of the things that Christ had said and done.
A man of some substance, he used his wealth to help needy people. He was not afraid to confront the Marcion and gnostic heresies and was strong in his condemnation of them.
A few writers tell us of how the flames surrounded but did not burn him. He was eventually stabbed.
Since I first read of Polycarp I have been filled with admiration for the strong witness left by this gentle, Godly man.
Irregular metre deliberately used.
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