June 15, 2022

God Save The Queen

by Interfaith

from the Mass in thanksgiving for Her Majesty the Queen (Saturday 4th June)

The foundation of the British understanding of monarchy is seriously Christian, the coronation of a British monarch is a religious act in which spiritual power strengthens, encourages and informs the secular power of the state. In our constitutional monarchy the Queen has a responsibility to govern according to the laws and customs of her peoples and for law and justice being upheld with mercy. Spiritual power aims to assist the power to lead, to inspire and to unite, and to shape the monarch’s personal character, personal conviction and personal example.

Following the coronation service the Queen said, “Throughout my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” Seventy years on, throughout her remarkably long reign, we can see that she has sought to do just that. The Queen has given this nation exceptional service. As we celebrate this platinum jubilee weekend with people all over the country, we give thanks to God for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Seventy years ago, Britain was a very different place to Britain now. Sir Winston Churchill was prime minister again, of a country still dominated by the impact of the second world war. Food rationing would not end for more than another year. The commonwealth was experiencing the strains that would lead many of its countries to independence and to the growth in the British population created by those who came to these shores from the commonwealth. Many of the conflicts and the opportunities of our world have changed.

We now feel the environmental challenge, the international threat of terrorism, the inequality of the widening gap between rich and poor, and the economic and social upheaval we currently face. Throughout her reign Queen has been steadfast, but has also shown a remarkable capacity to change with us.

The monarchy of this country, before the 16th century and after the religious upheaval of that time has had a religious role that is central to it. But a clear and explicit commitment to Christian faith does not mean an anxious or arrogant spirit that seeks to exclude the commitments of others. Instead it is a reason to be generous, to seek to exercise responsibility for the good of an entire national community, made up of very diverse parts. Our Christian faith tells us that no-one flourishes unless all flourish. Strong Christian faith should be a guarantee for the well-being of all.

John of Gaunt’s speech in Shakespeare’s Richard II has helped define our understanding of England: “This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle… This precious stone set in a silver sea… This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”. It was Shakespeare’s Richard II who also articulated the humanity of kings: “I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends”. As for any family and any community, the seventy years of our Queen’s reign have not all been gloriously free of personal or family difficulty. Perhaps those occasions have deepened our sympathies and respect and perhaps even our affection for the Queen and our gratitude for her devotion to duty and service.

We are celebrating this Mass of Thanksgiving for her seventy year reign on the eve of the solemnity of Pentecost, the remembrance of the divine gift of the Holy Spirit. This divine gift helps us all to make proper connections, in what we say and what we do. It will give direction to our lives in which the gifts of love and joy, truthfulness and justice are the gifts that make for better communication between people and thus create the possibility of unity among human beings who have a huge capacity to be divided and live in discord and conflict.

Guided, we pray, by the Holy Spirit, the Queen’s personal Christian faith has helped to sustain her to keep faith with the commitment she made at her coronation. Today we give thanks for her steadfast example of duty to this country and its people and with affection and gratitude, we pray and acclaim:

God save the Queen.

(Discussion in ‘Christianity‘ started by RJM, 13/-06/2022)

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