June 2022 - Rector's Ramblings

Andrew Doye portrait imageWe all know the tune; though not so sure we will reliably recall the words of the second verse:
Thy choicest gifts in store 
on her be pleased to pour, 
long may she reign …

The prayer for Her Majesty’s endowment with God’s gifts remains pertinent.  The petition, ‘long may she reign’, seems to have been well fulfilled.

It is frankly amazing that Queen Elizabeth has re-set every record book with the length of her reign.   The notion of a Platinum Jubilee has needed special creation for her.

Prime Ministers know full well their time in public favour will be limited: three terms is far beyond normal expectation.  Celebrities appreciate that their time in the spotlight of acclaim is strictly borrowed.   Bishops will retire by the age of seventy.  Managers of Chelsea FC (or Watford) do not last long.  And yet, Her Majesty the Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952.    Her remarkable years at the head of nation and Commonwealth have reached seventy, and more.

We rightly respect longevity.  In the past 24 hours, I have spoken with four separate parishioners who are comfortably and gracefully into their nineties.   When such extent of years is further coupled with immense responsibility, the admiration is multiplied.  

I was born when Elizabeth had been on the throne already a dozen years.  That seems a very long time ago.  I remember the changing image of her on coins and stamps as the decades passed.  I remember, as a child in the 1970s, a buzz of knowing-expectation in the air: of course, ‘now Charles is a man’, the Queen will surely step aside in his favour!  (Chauvinistic clap-trap, without historic foundation).    I personally remember Her Majesty on our screens and in our newspapers, through half a century of her reign; and I recall as an interested bystander the ebb and flow of her popularity, and of monarchy in general, in that time.  I remember a changing public image down those years; necessarily at times, and at other junctures brought about unwittingly through the events of the day.

This year, this month, we acclaim Her Majesty’s long unstinting service.    And as I have grown older, I have appreciated that her tenure of the throne has indeed been in the nature of ‘service’.  That has come through ever more eloquently in her Christmas addresses to camera.  A woman of undoubted power, wealth and influence, has also mirrored ‘humility’.

Great age, begets recognition; lasting responsibility, deserves admiration; extended service, invites gratitude.

… both to Her Majesty; and before God.

‘May she defend our laws, 
and ever give us cause 
to sing with heart and voice, 
God save the Queen’.


Andrew Doye                
Rector

 


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