Times were tense it seems between Church and State. The new Archbishop was a high churchman and on friendly terms with the king. Those in Parliament were Puritans , rather more low church and they disliked the ways of worship of Archbishop Laud so much so that in 1640 they imprisoned him in the Tower of London. He was there for five years. On January 10th 1645 he was martyred.
In his sermon from the scaffold he quoted Hebrews 12 which reminds us of ‘running the race that is set before us’ …… and also of Exodus 12 in which the people of Israel ate the Passover lamb with bitter herbs. After that they went to the Red Sea. He said that standing on the scaffold felt like standing at the edge of the Red Sea. He had examined his life in great detail and could not find any legal reason why he was in the position he was in but he realised that he, like Jesus, had to endure the cross. He forgave those who had put him in the position he was in and prayed that it would lead him to eternal life with God.
Had William Laud also remembered the words of Saint Paul in Romans 8:35-39, he may have felt more confident. …. nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
He must be with the God whom he served and worshiped and he is remembered as a martyr.
God our Redeemer whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr William Laud, so bind us in life and in death, to Christ’s sacrifice so that our lives, broken and offered with his, may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.