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Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Matthew 25:34b

Marinus was a distinguished soldier of the Roman Empire, stationed at Caesarea in Palestine. He was about to be promoted to the post of centurion when he was denounced as a Christian by a jealous rival who wanted to receive the coveted appointment. The magistrate interrogated him and demanded he sacrifice to the gods to demonstrate his allegiance to the emperor. Marinus refused and was given three hours to decide whom he was going to serve. He was counselled by Bishop Theotecnus of Caesarea, who asked him whether he preferred his sword or the Gospel. Marinus did not hesitate in his response – the Gospel. He returned to the magistrate and reaffirmed his faith in Christ, for which he was executed.

O Heavenly Father, who hast called us by thy grace to be a colony of heaven here on earth: Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a sense of our citizenship with the saints in glory; and grant that through all the days of our pilgrimage in this world we may humbly walk with thee in the way of holiness, and faithfully care for the needs of others, till we come to thy everlasting kingdom; through the mercy of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

John Bunyan (1628-1688), The Pilgrim’s Progress

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.