One more sleep. As we used to say to the kids, when they were very young… one more sleep before the big trip or the birthday party or Christmas day. And now, one more sleep before the coronation. The much anticipated day has arrived. Television crews from all over the world have assembled in London. Royal watchers are camping out on the streets in anticipation of catching a glimpse. Flags and streamers, banners and flowers adorn streets and neighbourhoods, as a nation prepares to welcome their King. The pubs will be full, too!
Behind the scenes, a whole host of people are carefully choreographing every movement, every step of every procession, recession and parade. The liturgy is being pored over again and again by clergy and chorister. Lines are being practiced along with curtsies and bows, salutes and salutations. The fine china has been placed just so, and the silver has been polished. And security goes over every detail to ensure safety and order.
Some of us are royal watchers and monarchists and we can’t wait to rise early to catch the once-in-a-lifetime event. Others of us are somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing. Still others of us find supporting the monarchy a difficult proposition, given our history of colonialism and empire – a history that we continue to confront and for which we make amends. The coronation ceremony reminds us just how closely linked the Church is in the making of a monarch. There have been times when the Church has stood too close and our call to be prophetic and Christ-like as been muted. It is a sobering enterprise to participate in this act. And it is a humbling and sobering enterprise to bear the weight of the crown. As the great philosopher Spider-Man once said… with great power comes great responsibility.
In the life and work of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we saw reflected a life of service and Christian devotion. In his first Christmas address to the nation, King Charles III referred to his mother’s profound faith, a faith that he too shares. In this same speech he noted: Some years ago, I was able to fulfil a life-long wish to visit Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. There, I went down into the Chapel of the Manger and stood in silent reverence by the silver star that is inlaid on the floor and marks the place of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth. It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, “the light that has come into the world” was born.
We pray. We pray for King Charles III and his family. We pray that his footsteps will be guided by the love of Christ. We pray that his reign will be shaped by compassion, reconciliation and justice. We pray that he serves with patience, diligence and faith. And may he enjoy good health. Long live the King!
Now, do I really have to be up at 4 a.m.?