Duty and Devotion

There is a story of the pig and the hen having a conversation about how they are so important in the traditional British way of life. They each have a part to play in the Great British cooked breakfast. However, the pig points out to the chicken, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed! One of the parties is giving sacrificially whilst the other is only a regular giver.

This month sees the Queen celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, the first British monarch to reach this milestone. In her Accession Day message, she referred to the pledge she made on her 21st birthday broadcast.

“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

She has completed seventy years of service, having acceded to the throne on 6th February 1952 when Her Majesty was 25 years old. This is a remarkable achievement; not many people achieve fifty years of service let alone seventy years. Whatever you may think of the Queen you cannot question her work and service. It is fair to say there is little or no chance that anyone will see this feat repeated in their lifetime. It is truly unique and may not ever be achieved again. Celebrations are planned for an extended bank holiday, from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June, which will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone. 

It is interesting to think of the things that we have made commitments to. It is sadly often the case that we have failed to keep our commitments and we are very aware of our shortcomings. I guess the most often failed commitment might be a gym membership or a promise to lose some weight. On a more serious note, there are a few more important commitments which may well be lifetime ones like family, marriage and tax! These are often hard to negotiate because we have to work through the difficult times, we cannot just opt-out.

When I talk to parents who have asked for their children to be baptised I gently remind them that their child’s journey of faith will take a lifetime. There is no point where it is complete and we can just rest easy in the assurance of a task that has been accomplished. Often the opposite is true, when we are complacent and we think everything is sorted, is just when things start to go wrong. We have let our attention slip and miss the signs of danger before it is too late. We are reminded painfully it is much harder to sort out a mess than prevent it. The Christian faith is rooted in service and helping others in need. It is not marked by helping ourselves to a better life at the expense of others. There are echoes of the Queen’s faith in her pledge of service celebrated this month.