… and God bless us all.
whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant,
we thank you that you have given Elizabeth our Queen a heart to serve her people,
and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her:
encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good,
until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom.
(prayer from the Church of England website)
I have never met Her Majesty the Queen, nor any other member of the royal family for that matter. I suppose I am a Monarchist, at least with the constitutional monarchy we have in this country. So I toasted the Queen at last year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and, like most folk, don’t give her a second thought except to say that the monarchy is part our national identity. If we didn’t have the Queen we might as well be American or even European federalists. But it is not politics that’s on my mind. The actual anniversary of the Queen’s coronation is in June and it is this year that sees the 60th anniversary of that.
Elizabeth became Queen on 6th February on the death of her father, George VI. Put another way, the anniversary of her becoming Queen, (her Accession to the throne) is also the anniversary of when her dad died. I think that poignant. After all, most of us do not have official public prayers every year to mark such an occasion. Well, there are special prayers for the Accession, which falls on February 6th. Much as I might want to say, “God save the Queen” I can’t help but think that while Elizabeth II may be Queen, she’s also a daughter whose dad died today 60 years ago.
God save the Queen and God bless us all.
… despite the tradition that Bank Holidays are wet! Our street party went OK – although we did have rather a lot of strawberries left over! It was nice to meet neighbours we normally only say “Hello” to. There was some discussion as to whether to sing the National Anthem but in the end we settled for saying “God save the Queen” and “God save [Our Street]”. A couple of photos are included here. They don’t include any people for two reasons. Firstly, it was strictly speaking a private party, and secondly I haven’t asked anyone’s permission to publish their photo here so I didn’t.
The pin-the-tail-on-the-corgi needs a word of explanation. We had some difficulty determining what a corgi’s tail looks like let alone where it belongs. This is because their tails are docked so most pictures of them don’t have any! So the prize went to the person who most closely pinned the tail to where it would have been if a corgi had one! (Not to the smart Alec who pinned it in mid-air, but then, I wasn’t going to get a prize, was I?)
The photos include some of the bunting, a close up of the collage of the state crown (various people had a go at making this) and the pin-the-tail-on-the-corgi.
God save the Queen and God bless us all!
We are commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. That’s not just here in England but in many other countries in the Commonwealth too. I do know that while some of us will celebrate this occasion in some way during 2012, there are others who respectfully decline to do so. They might say, for example, that choosing a Head of State should not be an accident of birth; or they might say that it is not fair that one family should have such a privileged position.
However, the fact is that no system of government is perfect. Much depends on the attitudes and qualities of the leaders of the time – whatever particular system might have put them there.
I believe that the best model of leadership is that of Jesus. He is Lord and Master to his disciples but he also washed their feet. He showed that while leaders may have particular privileges, they should never think of themselves as superior to the next person. They should also have in mind that they are accountable for their actions – not to be self-serving or a law unto themselves. In our Queen, Elizabeth II, we have an example of a leader who appears to have very much taken to heart the idea that leadership means service.
So, I for one, am happy to spend at least a moment or two to thank God for her reign; remembering that the whole world is under the sovereignty of Jesus the Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of Lords.
God save the Queen!
Egypt seems a long way from where I’m sitting and I don’t pretend to understand all of the issues. I do hope a peaceful resolution of her current difficulties won’t take too long. Here in the West there is a presumption that democracy is the best (or possibly the least worst) form of government that a country may have and I am inclined to agree. I think I detect a certain amount of puzzlement from some of my fellow citizens when supporters of President Mubarak decided that they also would take to the streets of Egypt. They wanted to show support for him and I doubt if they were all paid to do so. I think we may have under-estimated human nature: it is easier to be loyal to a person than to an idea or a set of values. I’m not saying it is impossible or even rare to do otherwise, but that many people expect a single person to be in overall charge.
In other words, it is human nature to want to have a king. That is where having a constitutional monarchy can be useful: combining the virtues of democracy with the understanding of human nature that likes to identify someone who is (or at least appears to be) in overall charge. Not a perfect system but one that acknowledges both logic and emotion. Even a President can come to be regarded as a king (or queen) – they may well be (but not necessarily) elected democratically but part of their appeal is emotional not just democratic.
In the Old Testament it is recorded that the tribes of Israel petitioned Samuel the prophet for a King. They wanted a strong leader and what is more, other countries already had one! So they moved from being a federation of tribes to becoming a nation state. The Bible records that it was not God’s suggestion and that Samuel had his misgivings: Kings mean conscription to the army and taxes to pay. They thought it a price worth paying and God allowed it. So one of the themes of the Old Testament is how good or bad the various kings and queens were: a mixed blessing to say the least.
Meanwhile Jesus’ trial turned in part on the claim that he was a king. Yes, he was a king but not of the military type that people expected. As a king Jesus did issue commands – but of the sort that encouraged love, justice and harmony. It would appear that some were disappointed that Jesus was not the other sort of king.
Which brings me back to Egypt. Whatever sort of government and state we happen to wish for Egypt, we should not be surprised that some wish to keep the President a while longer. Many (not all) people like to have a king and will put up with quite some inconvenience in order to have one. I would not be surprised if some support for the Egyptian President is cynically motivated but we would be wise to acknowledge the real emotional attachment that some may feel and not dismiss it out of hand. One opposition poster accused President Mubarak of being like the Pharaohs of old. The point is, that for some, that is an attractive notion. We may not need kings and queens but many of us still like having them.
Meanwhile, spare a thought for HM the Queen. This Sunday (6th February) is the anniversary of her Accession to the Throne (the anniversary of when she became Queen). Whatever your views on monarchy it is worth noting that that means it is also the anniversary of when her father died. A bitter-sweet anniversary to say the least.