"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Alban and Missionaries

Missionaries get all the fun. They get to go to exotic places, eat exotic food, hang out with exotic people who need Jesus in an entirely incomprehensible language. Sometimes they even get to have exotic near-death experiences and catch exotic diseases. And when they come home everybody looks at their slides, even the people who groaned at your vacation slides in equally exotic places. In fact churches will even interrupt their Sunday school programs for their slides and talks and appeals for money.

But alas, we can't all be missionaries. Some of us have the unglamorous jobs of earning money, showing up for church, pretending the choir is on key, mopping floors, living domesticated lives. And sometimes we wonder, how in our domesticatedness can we be like those missionaries out in the wilds.

I spent today at St. Alban's Church and the history of the saint was alluded to briefly. But for those of you who may not roam in Anglican clergy circles, perhaps St. Alban is not someone you know well. He's certainly not on the Billboard top forty all time best known saints.

Alban was a pagan, which is pretty much how all the celtic saints started out. You kind of get the impression that Alban was just living his domesticated life, sweeping his floors, when BAM this priest shows up on his doorstep with a few fleets of Roman Soldiers on his tail. He lets the guy in and in the course of letting this fugative missionary priest in to his little domestic scene (in order to escape yet another missionary exotic adventure, death by Roman Military) Alban hears the Gospel.

And knowing himself, new convert that he was, ill equipped to be a missionary, he puts on the priests cloak and takes the place of the priest when the Romans draw near and is martyred. Alban, without ever leaving home becomes the first Christian martyr in the British Isles. But moreover, without ever leaving home, he enables the missionary to spread the Gospel a bit further through the land.

Today nobody remembers the name of the missionary. But they name churches after Alban. Alban, in his little domestic scene, in his one moment of glory, was the reflection of Christ who took on our death when he took on the cross.

I think that's important for those of us who don't go to exotic places. Jesus is the one who is sent, but he is also the great sender. We can reflect him whether we are obediently going out, being sent or whether we obey a call to a more domestic life and remain faithful to sending the faithful.

Kind of cool, that Alban.

2 comments:

  1. Hello. I'm curious what "Free Range Anglican" means. Is it an ethical statement about farming, a metaphor for your faith, or something else? Just curious :)

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  2. Sometimes I'm not sure myself... but it could reflect anything from the Holy Spirit going where he will to the fact that this blog is all over the map. :) Thanks for asking. Nice to meet you.

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