St Alban's Church

Churchill Parken 6, Langelinie, DK 1263, Copenhagen, Denmark | Map


Today is: Tuesday 16th, 2019

Dual Citizenship - A Message from the Chaplain

Posted on Monday 2nd May, 2016

My dear friends,

Mary Beard, the well-known Cambridge academic, has published a new book on ancient Roman history. The volume, entitled SPQR (and the accompanying BBC TV series) charts the growth of Rome from its origins as an insignificant village in central Italy to its status as the first global superpower.

One of the many fascinating topics explored by Beard in her characteristically engaging way is the question of why the Romans persecuted Christians with such ferocity and cruelty. After giving the standard answer that it was the clash between Christianity’s strict monotheism and Roman polytheism — the conquerors tended to simply incorporate the conquered Gods into their expanding pantheon — Beard then offers an explanation I had not heard before.

The difficulty the Romans had with Christianity, she says, is that this new religion and its disciples appeared to have “no ancestral home”. Beard writes, “In their ordered religious geography, Romans expected deities to be from somewhere: Isis from Egypt, Mithras from Persia, the Jewish God from Judea. The Christian god was rootless, claimed to be universal and sought more adherents.”

In an important sense, I think she’s right. There is a certain “dual citizenship” about being a Christian. We are — each of us — from a particular place, but that does not exhaust our identity. As Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, our ultimate belonging and citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

It’s one of the themes of the forthcoming Feast of Pentecost when we remember how the Holy Spirit empowered the Disciples to communicate the Good News to diverse peoples and cultures in their own mother tongue. Just like those earliest Christians, we too are inspired (literally “breathed upon or into”) by the Spirit of God and called to honour our diversity, whilst at the same time celebrating our unity in Christ.

So, this Pentecost we will once again have a “Many Voices, One Spirit” service. The Sunday morning Eucharist on 15 May will feature lessons and prayer in several different languages and will be followed by an informal pot luck lunch where you are invited to bring some of your national dishes to eat and share. I am also asking people to consider wearing their national costume to Church that Sunday, or to wear an item of red clothing, red being a liturgical colour associated with the Holy Spirit.

My hope is that this special Pentecost service will inspire (that word again!) us to even closer connection with one another and with God, and remind us of that unique “dual citizenship” we hold as followers of Christ.


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  • Sunday
    Sung Eucharist 10:30am
  • Wednesday
    Holy Communion 10:30am

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