[First posted March 2011] Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays most people take for granted but know very little about. And that is because its origins are as mysterious as love itself. While hopeless romantics clutch red flowers and trudge on to impress unsuspecting yet eagerly expecting conquests, I am seated here mauling over the fact that Saint Valentine was a martyr. But how do people reconcile such a violent end to one’s life with the romantic paint brush of modern times? Speaking of love stories take a bite into this recent story of a husband whose life was saved by a soup ladle.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A woman in a jungle region of northern Malaysia rescued her husband from a tiger attack by clubbing the beast on its head with a large wooden soup ladle and chasing it away, police said Monday.
The tiger pounced on Tambun Gediu while he was hunting squirrels Saturday near his home in a jungle settlement of the Jahai tribe, a police official in Malaysia’s Perak state said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
Tambun’s 55-year-old wife, Han Besau, rushed out when she heard his screams and struck the tiger on its head with a kitchen ladle, causing it to flee immediately, the official said.
Tambun was receiving treatment at a hospital for lacerations on his face and legs. He told Malaysian media that he first tried to escape by climbing a tree, but the tiger dragged him down.
To be honest martyrdom is some what an alien concept to today’s average Christian. Christians — especially those enjoying the safety of the West — often think of martyrdom as a part of the distant Christian past. There is no way we can determine the exact theological beliefs of Saint Valentine but here is one good way of enjoying a Valentine’s day –by reading about other martyrs who without a question suffered and died in the name of Jesus Christ.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is a book that will never die. It is one of the greatest English classics and it brings to life the days when “a noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid,” “climbed the steep ascent of heaven, ‘mid peril, toil, and pain.” Reading this book to your spouse or love conquest may wreck their preconceived ideas of a cuddly romantic night but hey wouldn’t it be nice if your stoic soup-ladle-wielding wife stepped up to the rescue when a tiger drags your sorry self down from a sycamore tree?
Just a thought –remember those living in persecution.