Sunday, 25 December 2011

Her Majesty nails it again

For the last few years, the Queen's Christmas speech has been far and away one of the clearest 'religious' messages of the season -- far better than any of the clerical offerings. This year seemed to be even more so. Is she trying to tell us something?

Here's the last bit, but the whole is worth reading:
God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

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  1. Have to agree John, and she said it to more than any of us will have preached to this Christmas

  2. A good ad for lay preaching perhaps.
    David Brock

  3. Is it my imagination or is there a much more Christian emphasis generally this season in public life than there has been in previous years?

    Chris Bishop

  4. She said in a few words every essential thing that needed to be said. Many bishops and theologians should take note.

    It was a wonderful speech, that will be listened to by millions around the globe.

  5. On holiday in Kenya at the moment and had to perservere with this given the slow internet speeds. Truly worth it though - God Bless our gracious Queen.


  6. Canon Andrew Godsall26 December 2011 at 10:03

    Maybe she is trying to tell you that a woman can have a role in teaching and leadership within the Church?

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  7. Andrew, I knew it was only a question of "When and by whom" that remark would be made.

    For an Anglican, I think Article XXXVII is pertinent: "Where we attribute to the King's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers."

    However, if our women clergy (or indeed male clergy) were declaring over Christmas the last verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" quoted above as a prayer, "Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today", then I will follow Paul on this one: "The important thing is that in every way ... Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." (Phil 1:18)

  8. Canon Andrew Godsall26 December 2011 at 10:58

    Lighten up John... it's Christmas!
    If that article means anything outside of the political ferment in which it was cast, then today isn't the feast of Stephen

  9. From the antipodes: Onya Lizzie! She's told the fair dinkum truth!

  10. "Maybe she is trying to tell you that a woman can have a role in teaching and leadership within the Church?"

    Why would you think that the Queen shared your personal obsession with the recent innovation of women's ordination?

    So far as I am aware, the Queen is an orthodox prayerbook Anglican. She therefore would have no problem with being Queen, nor would she have a problem with the Church of England being consistent with the rest of the Christian Church as it has been for 2,000 years - i.e. no female priests or bishops.

    That does not stop the Queen in her public speeches setting out a statement of the gospel in a simple and profound way that many bishops, deans and canons today must envy.

  11. Andrew Godsall, Exeter30 December 2011 at 18:16

    Of course we don't ever know what the Queen thinks about such issues as the ordination of women. What we do know is that she supports the General Synod, which takes such decisions and that she appoints women priests to posts such as Dean of some of our cathedrals and Residentiary canons of Royal Peculiars.

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  12. Naturally Andrew, she will follow convention - she has no choice about that.

    But fortunately in this speech where she does have a choice, she chose to draw her listeners' attention to the atoning work of Jesus Christ, that he came to save us from our sin.

    She also highlighted that the greatest need of human beings is for forgiveness, from each other and from God.

    Not only is her speech more focussed on the essentials of Christianity than any I have yet heard from various prelates, but it also has a far wider distribution, being carefully listened to by millions all over the world. May our almighty God be praised.

  13. Ahhh Michael she does a bit more than follow convention thankfully. If you care to understand the crown appointments process then please do throw off the cloak of anonymity and e-mail me.

  14. Of course, priests and bishops were themselves a 'recent innovation' once. In the New testament church they were called 'elders', 'pastors', and 'overseers'; they were modeled on Jewish synagogue elders, there appear to have been teams of them in each congregation, and I get the sense that they were more like a combination of Lay Readers and vestry members (English readers can substitute 'PCC members' than current professionally trained full-time clergy.

    The idea of replacing these ministry teams with a single trained full-timer (called a 'priest', which in the NT is used only of Christ and of the whole church, never of a particular order of ministry) would I suspect have been viewed by NT Christians as an alarming innovation - as would the role of bishop as it has evolved today. Someone , somewhere, after NT times, did these things for the first time. Now we take it for granted that they are the immutable will of God.


  15. Sorry, Tim, I'm still trying to work out the relevance of that one to the Queen's speech!

  16. Well Michael you were the one who used the words 'recent innovation'...

  17. Yes I did, Tim, although in response to Andrew Godsall's post which dragged the thread from a discussion of the Queen's speech onto his favourite topic of Womens Ordination!

    I won't respond further to the various misconceptions in your post. The real issue is her Majesty's speech, which made no reference to Women's Ordination, but instead recalled us to think about the real reason Christ came - to save us from our sin.

  18. Andrew Godsall, Exeter4 January 2012 at 12:36

    Again MichaelA, you are letting facts get in the way of your story! Re-read the comments and you will see quite clearly that that I mentioned nothing about ordained women - it was you who did that. All I noted was the this great piece of gospel teaching and leadership was by a woman.

    I don't see misconceptions in Tim's post - rather a very clear statement of NT ecclesiology

  19. I disagree Andrew, on both counts. But it doesn't matter anyway.

    The important thing is that the Queen's speech drew the attention of millions of people around the world to the reason Jesus came to this earth - to save us from our sin.

  20. I wish she were our Head of State.

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