Coronation – Easter 5 – May 7th 2023
Joshua 1:1-9, and Ephesians 3:14—21
In the name of the living God, creator Father, risen Son and ever present Holy Spirit, Amen.
A short reflection today, as we praise God together on this Coronation weekend and give thanks.
Yesterday’s epic Coronation Service began with our King echoing the words of Jesus ‘I have come not to be served but to serve’. It was repeated again, in the King’s prayer said after the oaths, and in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon.. This sentiment, coming to serve not to be served, is at the heart of all our endeavours as Christians. Archbishop Justin, said it was important we all live our lives for the sake of others and that the strength to do this comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. That the Holy Spirit draws us into love in action, and this is the way to live lives that are strong, joyful, happy and glorious.
In the Coronation service that followed, the King committed himself to God and to his calling to be our monarch. Again, this is all that any of us can do in this life, to love and worship God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength, and to follow the calling God has for our lives.
His Majesty King Charles III calling has been on his life since the age of 4, and it has been a big one that has shaped all his life and at its heart is service to God and to our country. The role of King in our country is very much under the authority and love of God. Yesterday, King Charles has promised effectively to be the best King he can be. Again, being the best we can be is all any of us can do.
I asked the children in Wincanton at the primary school and those who came to our coronation journey last weekend – what makes a good King? The most common thing that was said was that he needed to be kind. Other qualities were respectful, truthful, generous, helpful, loving, and caring. It is our responsibility to pray for our King for his time as our monarch, and particularly for him to follow the guidance he receives from the Holy Spirit with the responsibilities he carries for us in being head of our church, and in service of our country, the 14 other realms and territories where he is also head of state and as the head of the Commonwealth.
Unlike our King, our calling in this life (what God wants of us and that we have been uniquely placed here to be and to do) has probably not been so clear cut and probably not since the age of 4. It is likely to have changed over the years. However, our approach to our lives, needs a similar dedication, devotion and heart for service that we need in our King – to love God and to follow the path he has for us (however that is revealed to us) and whatever stage of life we are at.
Both the readings we had today, are food for our Christian journey. God speaking to Joshua in our first reading is asking as to be ‘bold and courageous’, as God is with us wherever we go. Our second reading (which was one of the options for today and has travelled with me over the years through my Christian journey), from the letter to the Ephesians, has us dwelling on the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s amazing love for us, and the knowledge that we are filled with all the fullness of God to direct our steps.
This is a very big thought, but a lived reality if we lean into God’s love for us and allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish in us what God wants of us. In our experiences, this is often so much more than we would ask for and imagine, and typical of God’s overflowing generous love for us.
It is my hope for King Charles and Queen Camilla and for all of us, that we will hold in our hearts the amazing love God has for us. Love at the heart of all the magnificent hymns we are singing today and love which invokes in us a natural response to pray, praise and serve, or as the archbishop put it love in action. May God be the power at work within us all, which is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. Amen.
References: The Coronation Service May 6th 2023 produced by the Church of England
The New Revised Standard version of the Bible © 1989, 1995.