Holy is the True Light,
and passing wonderful,
lending radiance to them that endured
in the heat of the conflict.
From Christ they inherit
a home of unfading splendor,
wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore.
A choir will sing this text, in a setting by William Harris, during the service this coming Sunday, which is a celebration of our patron saint, Alban, who was the First Martyr of Britain (his feast day is June 22). Music about martyrs is not that easy to find, and honestly, do we want to celebrate martyrdom? But he’s our martyr and celebrate him we will. Alban endured the heat of conflict, giving up his own life, up to then a pagan life, for a Christian priest, and dying at the hands of his fellow Roman soldiers. We are assured by our faith that he did inherit a home of unfading splendor, and we do rejoice evermore. Alleluia!
Tomorrow is my 16th wedding anniversary, and that significant event in my own life reminds me that all relationships have their own heat of conflict, their own unfading splendor, and their own reasons for rejoicing. While a healthy relationship is never about martyrdom, it is often about sacrifice. To be in that kind of relationship, a relationship of true (and truthful) light – with a spouse, a parent, a friend, a church or a community – is something to very much celebrate. Alleluia!