Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saint Alban

Martyrdom of Alban
Today the Church is blessed to celebrate the witness and death of Alban, the first known martyr in Great Britain.  Sometime in the second or third centuries, Alban was converted to Christianity by a priest fleeing from a Roman persecution.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Alban volunteered himself to the Roman soldiers so that the priest could flee.  To make a long story short, Alban refused to honor the pagan gods and allowed himself to be decapitated.

"Well that's weird!  Why would celebrate somebody getting their head chopped off?"

One of the readings for today is from the first letter of John: "We know love by this, that [Christ] laid down his life for us - and we ought to lay down our lives for one another" (1 John 3:16).  This is not some hokey, super-America statement, but rather a radical call for Christians to love their fellow disciples as much as Christ loves them.  And this is what we find in Alban; a disciple willing to die for the sake of a fellow Christian.

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