How much has changed with the passing of the Queen? The honour that has been forthcoming is more than an expression of sentimentality but seems to come from the awareness of her life of service. For many reasons I am not of a royalist persuasion (and theologically believe God chose David, ‘a man after his own heart’, to end kingship… not prolong it… another post one day), but as we live in a world in which all forms of government and hierarchies are present this is not the most pressing element in my small life!
Something though has changed, beyond that of the death of a monarch. It seems significant that we have moved from male Prime Minister, who was prophesied to carry a Churchill anointing, to a female PM, who at some level is embodying what Maggie Thatcher carried; conversely we move from a female head of state to a male head of state. Signs of the pressing nature of how we respond to issues male and female / maculine and feminine.
[At one level I am troubled by prophetic words that proclaim (e.g.) ‘this new leader will carry the anointing xxx of and restore Britain to her glory…’ Troubled because they seem to be based in a belief that the future is all down to who is present in No. 10 (or the equivalent). Seems so opposite to Scripture – Luke 3, the entire thrust of Revelation (esp. ch. 5), Jesus’ words that it was the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to a bunch of nobodies… etc. At another level I think there is often some revelation in the words, but the expectation that is added is skewed. I do think we had a ‘Churchill’ in No 10. Great news is he did not last very long! The expectation of restoration of ‘Great’ into ‘Britain’ was not fulfilled… and now we have a season of female strength. I believe in leadership, the issue is not leadership it is the style, and maybe a style is appropriate at one time (war – Churchill… maybe!) that is not appropriate at another. And when the season changes what has been and is desired, and desired by believers in particular, has to manifest to be finally emptied out.]
In a time of significant change there is an old ‘covering’ that is removed. Hence I do anticipate these next 7 months will open up the land to confusion, chaos and a number of backlashes.
An aside: Defender of the faith? Or…
The history of the term was that it was given to Henry VIII by the then pope (Leo X), before he abandoned the Catholic expression of faith. A tad ironic as Henry took the title with him and was no longer there to defend the Catholic faith, his marital status influencing which expression of faith he would defend. However, my objection goes a little deeper than that. The only defence for a monarch having the title can be rooted in a ‘I vote for Christendom’ perspective. So count me out on that one. I have no doubt the Queen had personal faith, and in line with Paul we should ‘wish that all (royalty and rulers) present were as he was’ (i.e. with faith in Jesus), but their task is not to ‘defend the faith’! We are to give a defence, an explanation, a witness to faith, but any legislation or force that defends the faith? No, not in my books.
If there is a title, defender of faiths, would be something I would be more comfortable with; but probably defender of freedom, of justice, of human kindness – all of that would sit better. So without disparaging the title-giving former pope, I hope there will be some shift on these issues.
Royalists (I hear there are some Christians who are in favour) and non-royalists alike, we simply need to be ready to be re-focused. Some titles might go, some will stay, but all of it is not nearly as central to how I live. I can raise my placard (what placard and in Spain!!!) and if I feel strongly enough there is public space for that, but if my objection to royalty is an objection to hierarchy, elitism and the like I should not raise any placard, not until I have dealt with the issues of the heart. If it is a time for something fresh to come forth regarding male and female, that has direct implications for me in my household.
The Gospel – all about changing the world, how can it not be when the claim is that the Imperial powers had stolen the very word? The Gospel – all about the micro of my responses.
There are some ‘tough’ election results being counted in Sweden and whatever the outcome the far-right xenophobic party with neo-nazi roots will have made major gains. Painful. And very painful to Maria and Bjorn who have stood with, created jobs for, challenged the powers, with regard to those driven from their nations and ended in Sweden (the sentence does not begin to tell the journey). What does it mean for those that they love, those that they have taken into their household / family? That is a very real issue. If the woman who threw in her two coins brought down a most luxurious Temple (a Temple that occupied around 25% of Jerusalem, that was spoken of in Rome as a building that just has to be seen), then I know that Bjorn and Maria have continually put 2 coins into the system that ‘robs widows of their houses’. The election is painful. Faithfulness is what catches the eye of God. (Even the disciples were focused on the incredible building – has nothing changed? Jesus meanwhile saw the widow.)
There are huge changes I believe that are here. They will unfold.