Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.
Each week brings the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, telling tribulations, inspirational progress, and everything in between.
Here are just a few things that happened this week, July 8-14, in Church history. They include the birth of the founder of Boys Town, the death of a seminary founder who reportedly wrote "A Visit From St. Nicholas," and the preaching of one of the most famous sermons in history.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Sermon Preached - July 8, 1741
This week marks the anniversary of when Jonathan Edwards preached one of the most famous sermons in history, titled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
Edwards was part of spiritual revival known as the "First Great Awakening" and his sermon, with its vivid descriptions about the doom of the unsaved, remains provocative reading.
Most notably preached in Enfield, Connecticut, though believed to have preached on other occasions as well, the sermon drew upon Deuteronomy 22:35, which states that "their foot shall slide in due time."
"There is no Want of Power in God to cast wicked Men into Hell at any Moment. Men's Hands can't be strong when God rises up: The strongest have no Power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his Hand," declared Edwards.
"He is not only able to cast wicked Men into Hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly Prince meets with a great deal of Difficulty to subdue a Rebel, that has found Means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the Numbers of his Followers. But it is not so with God. There is no Fortress that is any Defence from the Power of God."
Clement C. Moore Dies – July 10, 1863
This week marks the anniversary of when Clement Clarke Moore, founder of the General Theological Seminary of New York and poet credited with writing "A Visit From St. Nicholas," passed away.
A native of New York City and the son of a pastor, in 1819 Moore donated land originally serving as an apple orchard for the construction of the Episcopal seminary.
In the past, Moore has been credited with having penned the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," a famous seasonal poem that begins with the line "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Originally published anonymously, Moore claimed though not without dispute that he had written it in 1822 just to amuse his children.
"Because the poem was published anonymously and became very popular, other people tried to claim authorship. Authorship is typically attributed now to Major Henry Livingston, Jr., whose great-grandson spent many years trying to establish Major Livingston as the author," noted the Poetry Foundation.
"Livingston had also written verses for his children, but he made no written mention of 'A Visit from St. Nicholas' during his lifetime, nor had his friends heard of his connection with the verses."
Father Flanagan Born – July 13, 1886
This week marks the anniversary of the birth of Edward Flanagan, the Irish-American Catholic priest who founded the nonprofit Boys Town, was born.
A native of County Roscommon, Ireland and one of eleven children, he was ordained a priest in 1912 and became an American in 1919.
Flanagan was sent to Omaha, Nebraska for his first parish assignment. While there, he founded a home for impoverished men and then later a charity to help disadvantaged young boys.
"Father Flanagan and Boys Town became internationally known with the help of the 1938 movie, 'Boys Town' starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney," noted the Social Welfare History Project at Virginia Commonwealth University.
"Father Flanagan became an acknowledged expert in the field of child care, and toured the United States discussing his views on juvenile delinquency. The federal government often called on Father Flanagan to help children both nationally and internationally."