Ignatius of Antioch is a central figure in my story of faith, so I thought I'd make a shirt to encapsulate a bit of his story. But first...
Years ago, I was occasionally asked to lead Sunday and Wednesday night classes at our small, rural church. Growing up in such an environment was wonderful, but we had no teaching in theology or Christian history. The general idea was to take the bible and apply it to our lives.
That's great as far as it goes, but I loved history, and where things come from was important to me, so I naturally started asking questions. That led to my reading various portions of church history.
There I discovered stories of people that I'd never heard of. Some parts seemed fantastical, but the core was irresistible.
And so I came to Ignatius of Antioch.
There are so many places online to read about him (well, really, just read the letters he wrote along the way to Rome to die). A quick search pulls up more than you'd want to read, probably, so I will not re-tell his story here. 3 links (of many) that are useful to me are listed below.
Do yourself a favor. Read what he wrote.
"Earthly longings have been crucified (ho emos erōs estaurōtai) and in me there is left no spark of desire for mundane things, but only a murmur of living water (hydōr zōn) that whispers within me, ‘Come to the Father’."
Hauntingly beautiful. Those words have hung in front of my mind since I read them years ago.
The idea that a picture of death loomed in front of Ignatius is what inspired the images on the front and back of this shirt. I imagined Ignatius traveling under guard along a bumpy road, wobbling with every step of the horses that pulled his cart (he may have sailed, but still...), thinking of his beloved children in the faith, how they would intervene to save him, how he must have longed for them, how gruesome the specter of being eaten alive surely was, and how much he wanted to be with Jesus.
Listen to this quote from a letter:
"Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose means it will be granted me to reach God. I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ."
Pure Bread. The Wheat of God. Amazing.
He sent 7 letters. This part of the story is what makes up most of the back graphic. That he was to be thrown to wild beasts to die under tooth and claw is represented by the 2 lions on either side of the brand name, Apology.
TRUTH HATES DELAY is something I ran across while searching for ancient Roman quotes. In Latin it is, "Veritas Odit Moras."
Ignatius of Antioch learned from the Apostle John. He and his friend, Polycarp, I believe were both disciples of John. That's amazing! To have such a close account of the early church was very influential in my life. Read through the following links, especially www.earlychristianwritings.com, which is a treasure trove.