The day before the referendum vote took place, the Church remembered Alban, the first English Christian martyr. Alban is the patron saint I wish our nation had but even without that title his story still speaks to us and nevermore than following the referendum result.
Alban welcomed the stranger who came knocking on his door for help and took him in. In the brief time they had together he listened to this stranger and took him seriously. When the soldiers came hunting for this stranger, Alban let himself be arrested instead. In the face of the threat of death he remained true and faithful and went bravely to his execution.
There is about Alban’s story a wonderful, almost breath-taking, generosity. He shows himself open to both the stranger and his views. Having offered protection to his new-found friend he remains loyal and unwavering.
No matter how we voted on Thursday, or how we feel about the outcome, we now need to show just such generosity to one another, to willingly embrace those who hold views different to our own, to listen to one another and be open to changing our perspective, standing loyal by one another and walking into an unknown future together.
This is not a time for “if only” or “what if”. We are where we are and it is only in a generous and committed coming together, that we can build a future for our nation of which we can all be proud. It may not be the future some of us wanted, and for all of us the exact path ahead may be unclear, and at times will no doubt be challenging, but it is only in loyalty and openness one to another that we can find a new and stronger place for our nation in the world.
It will not be easy. For Alban it cost him his life. But there is a story that tells us that where where his blood was spilt grew up the first English red rose. From our present confused plight something new and beautiful can grow.
From a Christian perspective new creation and resurrection are always possible; in this ending there remains hope.
Blessed Alban pray for us.