Henry Martyn: With That Said Desire…

Today, October 19th, the Anglican lectionary directs attention to Henry Martyn.

Martyn is an important figure in the early history of the modern missions movement. If you don’t know of him, it is worth clicking through here for a short summary (or here for a longer introduction). Martyn has strong connections to Cambridge in his story which I’ve been pleased to learn more about myself. For one, the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide is backed by the Henry Martyn Trust!

He remains an inspiring figure and, because of his relationship to the East India Company, a good entry point for our ongoing conversations about Christianity and colonialism. For today I am simply taking the opportunity provided by the lectionary to draw attention to Henry Martyn and to the fact that no single corner of the globe is big enough to contain the glory of God.

The scripture readings for the day are worth considering together. We have Isaiah 49 (from which this blog takes its name), Psalm 98 (Shout with joy to the Lord all you lands!), and John 4 (The Father seeks such as these to worship him…). In the collect we pray:

“O God of the nations, who gave to your servant Henry Martyn a longing to share your Gospel with all peoples; Inspire the church in our own day with that said desire, that we may be eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

Inspire the church in our own day with that said desire…


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