Monday, 4 August 2008

Living sacrifice — Dying to Live

A lot of Lambeth has been about the hard reality of being a global church in the real world. Great joy of living together has entailed great pain arising from the demands of our conflicting cultures, in which we have received the gospel. Christ’s dark victory over this is not yet fully realised among us. Most of the time, functionally, we don't have to take other people as seriously as ourselves. These two weeks, we mostly did. We talk about living between warring factions as living sacrifice. Some Anglicans do that, literally.

The most moving part of the final service in Canterbury Cathedral was near the end. The Melanesian Martyrs of 2003 have been on many of our hearts and minds, partly because some of our chaplains were personal friends. For them, living between warring factions as a witness to peace, brought death. We were reminded of them in the opening Cathedral Eucharist, as their brothers brought us the gospel in a boat. Their names were read and we commended them to God at the end; an immensely haunting Litany of saints and martyrs was sung by fellow religious from Melanesia, carrying their names to the altar of the Chapel that keeps alive the names of saints and martys of our age at the West end of the Cathedral. As our brothers disappeared from sight, processing up the choir and past Augustine’s chair, the song hung high in the arches above us, and we were still.

May these brothers’ prayers, example and fellowship show us how to be people of peace in a world of warring factions. May they be a reality checkpoint, a sign of what it means to follow Christ, inspiration for our journey.


pao said...

Apologies for being off topic, but as a member of University of Kent staff who is on campus all year round; I would just like to say that it has been a pleasure to have you and your colleagues on campus for the last almost 3 weeks.

God Bless you all.

Tim Chesterton said...

Alan, I was out of computer range for a few days, but have now caught up on all your Lambeth posts, and jut want to thank you again for bringing the Lambeth Conference so close to us. Your thoughtful and prayerful reports and reflections have inspired me. Thanks again!

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