Today, April 23rd, is St. George’s day. St. George was/is the patron saint of England. His emblem is a red cross on a white background. It is also the flag of England and is part of the Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain. The emblem itself, the red cross on a white background was adopted by Richard the Lionheart and it was worn by his soldiers to avoid confusion in battle. Part of his popularity stemmed from a legend that says in the midst of a battle when the Normans saw a vision of St. George and were victorious over their enemies.
Who was St. George and why is he honoured as the patron saint of England (as well as a host of other places)? The irony of St. George being the patron saint of England is there is no proof that he ever visited there.
From what is known about him, he was born in the year A.D. 270 in Turkey, most likely in Cappadocia. This means that he lived in the third century.
His parents were Christian and he became a Roman soldier, but he remained a committed Christian. When he saw Christians being persecuted, he protestested. The result of his actions was his imprisonment, torture and when he refused to recant his beliefs, was beheaded at Lydda, Palestine on April 23, 303.
One of the legends of St. George is he fought and killed a dragon. This is highly unlikely because we know that dragons are legendary creatures that do not actually exist.
So what can we learn from George the man? I think that there are three things that we can learn: His Faith, His Witness and His Perseverance.
His Faith: he learned from his parents that faith in Christ was the only thing that really mattered in life, and so he gave (surrendered) himself completely to the Lord God Almighty. Our faith can help us slay the dragons in our lives.
His Witness: with little concern for his own safety, he protested before the authorities the treatment of his fellow believers. This put into jeopardy not only his position as a soldier in the Roman army, but also exposing himself as a believer. By doing this, he put his reputation as a soldier on the line, as well as his own personal safety. The result of his witness was his imprisonment, torture and death. Dragons be gone!
His Perseverance: with little regard for his own safety, he kept on keeping on. I am quite sure he knew the risks that he was taking, but he also knew that he had just one choice — to trust in God for his future. George knew that his faith, his witness and his perseverance were all he needed to be victorious over sin and death. Old smokey breath is dead!
St. George lived and died in a time of great tumult when life was short and living through the day was something to be thankful for. We also live in uncertain times, and so what we need to do is to trust God and believe He is sovereign over all things. What we must do is to trust and obey. God is great all the time and all the time God is great. Peace be with you.