Feast of Eric Liddell (February 22)   3 comments

Above:  Olympic Flag

Image in the Public Domain


ERIC LIDDELL (1902-1945)

Scottish Missionary and Martyr

There are two ways to stand up for what one believes:  properly (as in sacrifice) and improperly, which is to say, obnoxiously.  The life of Eric Liddell demonstrates the former.

Eric Liddell was a son of missionary parents in China.  He and his brother began to attend Elthan College, Blackheath, in England, when Eric was six years old.  This was a boarding school for the children of missionaries.  Today’s saint excelled at athletics, such as rugby and track, at Elthan.

Liddell joined his brother at the University of Edinburgh in 1921.  There he continued to run and to play rugby.  He became a noted track runner, going to the 1924 Summer Olympic Games.  Liddell won the gold medal in the 400 meter race and the bronze medal in the 100 meter race.  He could have won a medal in the 100 meter race, his best event in college, but he did not participate because that race was scheduled for a Sunday.  Liddell kept the Sabbath.

Liddell graduated from the University of Edinburgh and spent most of the rest of his life (1925-1943) as a missionary in China.  Ordained in 1932, he married Florence Mackenzie two years later.  They had three children, all daughters.

The Presbyterian missionary family suffered many hardships, for this was the time of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which expanded to become the Pacific Theater of World War II.  Liddell’s wife and children sought and found safety in Canada after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but he stayed behind to continue the good work.  The Japanese interned today’s saint at Weihsein in 1943.  There he died 1945, shortly before Allied forces liberated the camp.

The willing sacrifices of Eric Liddell brought glory to the Lord and Savior whose name he professed.  May we do likewise, each in our own way, as God leads us.






A link to the Eric Liddell Centre:



God whose strength bears up as on mighty wings:  We rejoice in remembering your athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom you gave courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 40:27-31

Psalm 18:21-25, 29-34

2 Peter 1:3-11

Mark 10:35-45


Revised on December 5, 2016



3 responses to “Feast of Eric Liddell (February 22)

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  1. Hello
    You might be interested in the Eric Liddell information on our web site:


    We are the main memorial to his life and work.


    Gordon Hudson
    Eric Liddell Centre

  2. Pingback: Feast of All Christian Missionaries (October 14) « SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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