Queen Accession

06/02/12 | Posted by Ian Black

Monday (6th February) is the 60th anniversary of the Queen coming to the throne. Whether you are an ardent fan of royalty or think heads of state should be elected, this is a milestone of note. She has given the best part of her life to her duties and has been thoroughly committed to it. That alone deserves a glass being raised in her honour. I don't think many of us would want to take her place for anything more than a day - though some of the houses are rather special pieces of real estate.

image
 Queen’s Jubilee emblem

Monarchs have an ambivalent place in the bible.  When the people of Israel say they want to appoint a king God is said to be upset.  It is seen as trying to sideline him.  The people are warned that they will end up with overbearing autocrats who boss them around.  But they go ahead anyway and within a few pages God seems to smile on the development, though not unreservedly.  When King David engineers another man’s death so that he can marry his wife, who is already pregnant with his child, he is given a sharp rebuke from a prophet.  Other kings who stray from what is right get similar or stronger treatment.

If we want to find a basis for the divine right of kings we won’t find the bible an unambiguous cheerleader.  Paul talks about earthly rulers being given a responsibility from God to order our common life for the good of all, but that’s not quite the same as saying God put them there.  Jesus recognises that taxes should be paid to Caesar, but that true authority comes from God and he has first call on our allegiance.

When the first followers want to find an image of what happens to Jesus after the resurrection they borrow the idea of a king and refer to him reigning.  But before we get carried away, when the disciples were playing power games about who was the most important, Jesus put a child in front of them and told them to view the lowest in the group as more important than themselves.  Jesus came as one who serves, not one who lords it over everyone else.

The bible is not really that bothered with the job titles we give to our leaders.  It is more concerned with justice, with making sure the poor are properly treated and that no one is mistreated.  Leaders set the tone for this and they are therefore accountable for how justice fairs.  Monarchs or presidents they will be assessed on how they govern, not just for being there.

The Queen has given 60 years of dedicated service and commitment to this nation and the Commonwealth.  That time is honoured when justice is upheld, the poor are treated properly and everyone’s dignity is upheld.

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