Teach us good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest …. The bunting is packed away, tourists and well-wishers go home, uniforms dry out; life goes on. There is work to do and I’m sure that on Tuesday morning, the King’s in-tray was as full as ever. The Coronation was a spectacular piece of theatre; the real work continues, mostly unseen.
The Coronation began when a young chorister welcomed the King in the name of the King of Kings, and King Charles responded In his name, and after his example, I come to serve not to be served, but to serve; echoing the words of Jesus who said the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (eg: Matthew 20:28). Jesus’ life was surrendered totally on the cross, but lives are more often ‘given’ through a life lived in dedicated service. Placing the Coronation in the context of Christian Worship is a powerful reminder that all earthly authority comes from God; no matter how high you may be in the human pecking order. The King, and indeed all secular rulers, many of whom were present, were reminded that they ultimately answered to a higher authority. They were reminded too, that their responsibility was to serve the poor, the needy, those who had no power, and not just their own interests and the interest of their personal power-base.
This call to serve is not restricted to the highest in the land; we are all called to serve in some way. As King Charles prepared for his coronation, hundreds of new councillors were elected to local authorities across England. A reminder, perhaps, that authority is granted at many levels and that people of all ages and backgrounds give their lives, at least for a season, in the service of their community.
The words I opened with continue …. Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not for seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will. And, for the avoidance of doubt, the late 8th century BC Hebrew prophet, Micah, wrote what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Rev’d Philip Payne The Notice Sheet for 14th May 23 can be found here
 Ignatius of Loyola 1491-1556