In the month of June the Church’s calendar is scattered with commemorations of the martyrs, those who witnessed to the Christian Faith and to the love of God to the point of death.
Peter and Paul , John the Baptist and Barnabas, are familiar to us from the pages of the New Testament. Others may be less well known today. Justin was a martyr of the early Church; Boniface took the faith from the West of England to Germany and was martyred there. Thomas More and John Fisher were put to death by Henry VIII for their refusal to accept secular power over the Church. In Uganda, the martyrs of the Nineteenth Century and of 1977 remind us that the vibrant African Church of today owes its roots to those who were ‘faithful unto death’.
To many of us it is Saint Alban, the Roman who sheltered one of the early missionary priests from France, and who is the first we know of to die for the Christian Faith in Britain, who reminds us that the seeds of faith in this country were sown as blood. (Two of our team clergy come from the Diocese of Saint Albans!)
But Saint Paul reminds us that all of us who are baptised in Christ, without necessarily shedding blood, should be martyrs in the original meaning – witnesses – when he writes to the Corinthians:
We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:20
So we pray.
by whose grace and power your holy martyrs
triumphed over suffering and were faithful unto death:
strengthen us with your grace,
that we may endure reproach and persecution
and faithfully bear witness to the name
of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
Team Priest, Forest and Avon Team
This prayer is from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.
Prayer for those visiting our website
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in your own image and gave us the will to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
we give you thanks for the freedom of communication.
Grant, we pray you, that through our journies in this website we may be led to
charity, prayer, patience and greater understanding of each other
and that we may discern more closely, your will for your pilgrims here on earth.
To the glory of the Word made Flesh.
From Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.