Given by the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop-designate, at the Inaugural Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America during the Holy Eucharist on 22 June, A.D. 2009, the Feast of St. Alban, Anglican Proto-Martyr (First English Martyr).
...St. Alban was a layman who heard the gospel and gave his life to it and for it. He was a pagan householder in the Roman settlement at Verulamium, which today is the English city called St. Albans. Alban took in a fugitive Christian priest who was fleeing the Diocletian persecution. The year was 304 A.D. While in hiding, the priest shared his faith in Jesus Christ with his host, Alban, and Alban was converted. Then the most extraordinary thing happened: as word came that the authorities were searching house to house, Alban asked to put on the priest’s clothes. So it was Alban that was arrested and Alban that was executed. Like Maxmillian Kolbe at Auschwitz centuries later, Alban sacrificed himself to save someone else, someone he had only just met. He lay down his life because he himself had been transformed by the love of Jesus. Some sources say Alban was a soldier, likely enough in a Roman garrison town. Certainly he was a soldier of Christ, the first recorded “anglican” [from the Latin meaning English] martyr.
Many of us have sacrificed a great deal to follow Jesus to this place. Many of us have lost properties and sacred treasures and incomes and pensions and standing and friends Yet, remembering the challenge of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, few of us have suffered [Heb.12.4] to the point of shedding blood (though some here, especially among our global émigrés, actually have.) Alban, a new convert, shows us the way. Jesus isn’t finished with his asking and we aren’t finished with our giving. Are we? Alban was the consummate Christian convert, willing to follow his Savior even into a death for others. Are we ready, if more still is asked? Are we ready? Are we willing?...more