Published on January 17th, 2019
Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of kidsofcourage.com. Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews. Read below her review of the Torchlighters DVD, The Perpetua Story. Torchlighters DVDs are available at vombooks.com.
[Preview is recommended before showing the DVD to younger children.]
Perpetua, a woman who lived in Roman times, just like Augustine, became a Christian soon after she gave birth to her baby son. She was very young when she accepted Jesus Christ, but she became an active participant in the early church.
At that time, the Romans did not accept Christianity as a true religion. They instead wanted everyone to pledge allegiance to the emperor and to their gods. So they made it illegal to become a Christian. Anyone who professed to love Jesus was fed to wild animals. The Christians were shunned and hunted, as if they were not even people.
Perpetua took a great risk by becoming a Christian in this era. In fact, the danger of becoming a Christian was so great, the believers had to gather in homes under the veil of night. Still, the Roman army would come through the streets and raid the houses, looking for gatherings.
One night, Perpetua and her friend Felicity (who was a slave), were attending church just as usual, when the Roman army raided her pastor’s house. The soldiers arrested everyone who attended, including Perpetua and Felicity. The two women, Felicity’s husband, and Perpetua’s baby son were all thrown in jail. In the morning, they would be asked to burn incense to the emperor as a sign of loyalty.
Perpetua and her friends were afraid of what was going to happen to them in the future, so they prayed without stopping until they fell from exhaustion. As the Christians were sleeping, Christ Jesus came to Perpetua in a dream, where he handed her a cup and told her to drink. “This is a taste of sweet things to come,” he said. Perpetua knew then that she would go to be with the Lord soon.
When morning came, Perpetua told her friends about what had happened in the dream. “We will be delivered and go to the Lord as martyrs,” she explained. And they were all at peace.
When the time came, Perpetua and her friends were thrown to the wild animals because they refused to bow down and worship the emperor above God. Because of their faith and steadfast assurance that God would deliver them (even if that meant death), they became an example for all other Christians to follow. That is, they told the world that they would not back down when choices got hard. They told the Romans that they would not bow down to false gods. And they told the Church that God will not abandon you even if you feel like He has. As followers of Christ, they met their end with grace and love – and entered into a new beginning as bright as the morning sun.
Learn more and watch a clip from The Torchlighters: The Perpetua Story here.