“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”
The unforgettable responsive reading
It was midnight on Thursday, February 8, A.D. 356, and Athanasius, a leader in the early Christian church and passionate defender of the deity of Jesus Christ, was leading a worship service. Suddenly loud shouts and clashing armor could be heard outside the church. Soldiers had come to arrest him.
But Athanasius said, “I didn’t think it right, at such a time, to leave my people,” so he continued the service. He asked a deacon to read Psalm 136 and then requested the congregation to respond with the refrain, “His faithful love endures forever,” which they did twenty-six times over the din of the soldiers outside.
Just as the final verse was completed, the soldiers rushed into the church, brandishing their swords and spears and crowding forward up…
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