Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Eve of Jubilee

Next Monday the Queen will begin her Diamond Jubilee year and this week the BBC are everywhere, it seems, trailing Andrew Marr’s three part documentary about her life.

In the congregations in which I’ve served there have always been ardent royalists, fierce republicans and a lot of indifferent people in-between. 

Although I recognise monarchy wouldn’t be the obvious choice for any new democracy, I myself believe what we have inherited from the past has, in recent years, served us well.  The Queen, along with her parents and grandparents, has been an example of duty and service done with a certain grace and style. 

The Old Testament concept of Jubilee is all about a 49th or 50th year, in the Sabbatical Year cycle, being celebrated as a time for slaves to be freed and debts forgiven.  It was announced, not by the trumpeters of the Household Cavalry but by the priests blowing their Shofars, or rams horns.  A year when mercy was shown and God’s character of grace celebrated.

Today I received a magazine from one of my former churches with an article in it reflecting on last year’s Queen’s broadcast on Christmas Day.  The writer said he was thrilled and surprised by the Christian content of the message with phrases such as: God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with power to forgive.  Even with droopy eyelids after too much turkey, I too noticed how Christ-centred that speech was.

So on Monday – as the gun salutes are made in Hyde Park and the Tower of London, as the BBC begin their landmark documentary series and as a year of celebration begins – I think we can all give thanks for the Queen’s example of service and duty, much of it, I suspect, founded on her genuine Christian faith and discipleship of the King of Kings.

This weekend I’m particularly looking forward to Sunday evening when members of our youth group, Solid Rock, will be asking questions of four church members about the life of faith.  This Question Time event will be held at 6.30pm in the Chapel Lounge and everyone is welcome – do join us if you can!
With best wishes,

Ian

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