Can you remember the last coronation on 2nd June 1953? You would probably be aged 74 to remember much about the day which means only 1 in 10 of us would have memories of the last coronation. My father remembered the coronation, he recollected that it rained heavily and only the Queen of Tonga refused to have a cover put over her carriage, she was visible to the crowds on the streets. This month of May will see the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey. As part of the weekend of celebrations, there is now an extra bank holiday on Monday 8th May. King Charles is distinguished as the most mature King of England by age, let us pray for great wisdom to accompany such maturity.
In the bible God’s people, the Israelites decided that they needed a visible King rather than being indirectly governed by God. They asked the prophet Samuel to sort out a King with God. There is sadness at their rebellion against God and his rule. We are told that God warns them that the King will want an army to wage war, that he will demand the finest things and that the King will take taxes and servants to achieve the things he wants. The people are not deterred by God’s warnings and say that they want to be like other nations to have a King that might govern them and fight their battles (1 Samuel 8 vs 19-22). So God relents and Samuel anoints Saul as the first King of Israel. As you read on through the bible a lot of the problems that are encountered stem from the King drifting away from God and seeking his selfish agenda. It is not limited to Kings, the great prophets Eli and Samuel, and their children drift away from God for their own interests. It is a very human condition that when placing ourselves at the centre of the world and only looking out for ourselves we often ignore the greater needs of those around us. It is not a coincidence that two of the Ten Commandments put God first and we are not to have any other idols. If we centre ourselves around God’s way then we have a hope of improving our world. Often following examples is a good way to model ourselves. The example that God gives is Jesus Christ and he is a great example of compassion and care. Our late Queen Elizabeth gave a great model of service to her subjects.
As you watch King Charles III’s coronation, notice that it happens in an abbey, by an Archbishop. It acknowledges that God’s spirit is required to enable the King to fulfil his life of service to our country. It is set within a communion service which Jesus started on the night before he died. This has more powerful resonance as we have just celebrated Easter, his rising from death. We pray that King Charles will continue his life of service. We pray this would be a moment for all to encounter afresh the person of Jesus Christ – the servant King –and be renewed in our calling to serve Him by serving others.