Leaders Get the Short End of the Stick Sometimes

I happen to share my birthday with the saint day of a young British king, King Edmund of Anglia, Warrior and Martyr.

St. Edmund’s life was short but notable. He ascended to the throne at the age of fifteen. His lands were continually attacked by Viking raiders, and St. Edmund regularly led his soldiers in battle.

In 869 he led those soldiers for one final time against the Danish raiders and was summarily defeated. The Vikings offered peace on two conditions: that Edmund give the Danes half of his treasure and that he become a vassal prince.

St. Edmund agreed to give up half his treasure, but would only become a vassal if the Danes renounced their religion and were baptized.

The Vikings laughed, refused, and decided to use St. Edmund for target practice instead.

St. Edmund was the patron saint of Britain until the Third Crusade, when St. George became the patron protector. Still, he’s widely thought of as a good and brave leader, young as he was when he was killed.

St. Edmund is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that sometimes a leader gets the short end of the stick when they stick to their convictions.

And sometimes that has to happen.

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