The Window - Sunday, 9th of February, 2014
On The Keeping Of Promises
On Making The Best Of Our Lot
On Thursday the Church of England kept a bittersweet feast - the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II, sixty-two years ago. Bitter because it was also the day her long-suffering and poorly father died; sweet because the nation has been blessed with a public servant of the deepest devotion who has headed the ship of state through tumultuous times, changes and chances, with a steady determination to keep the promises she made before she was even Queen to care for the people to whom she had been given by God. And that is the heart of it - much is made of the Queen's personal faith, which always emerges in her Christmas broadcasts, simple, and strong, and there can be no question that for her it is a religious duty to keep that promise. She is older, at 87, than any of her predecessors as monarch, and yet undertook 344 official engagements last year.
Of course, there is a balance here. There is a plus side to being Queen, on a bad day, there are consolations for the cares of state: she can wear jewels at dinner the rest of us would never even be permitted to touch; she has a string of racehorses others can only watch on television; a pack of corgis that others walk; she has never had to worry about small bills; she gets the best of healthcare. But these are things any rich person can have, without giving anything at all back to the rest of society.
We like to think ourselves free, and yet when we reflect on our lives, it is surprising how few real choices we have. Nothing quite so stark as being born to be Queen, but still relatively few. For Jesus's disciples, the call is to make good of the places we find ourselves, and that includes showing our gratitude for the blessings of this life in service to our neighbours, so that we may truly say with the Psalmist "The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground" (Ps. 16:7)