As we all know, the Accession Day for Her Majesty The Queen falls on Sunday the 6th of February. This will mark her 70th year, not only as our Sovereign, but also as Supreme Head of the Church of England. Her role combines both temporal and spiritual authority and this was no more clearly demonstrated at her coronation when she was anointed with the holy oils by the then great Archbishop Ramsey of Canterbury.
Her preparation for that day, all those years ago not only required getting all of the ceremonial aspects completely spot on, but also preparing herself spiritually before God for the tasks and weight of responsibility that awaited her.
How faithful has God been in giving her the strength and inner fortitude for which she prayed! The Queen has lived through so many “new normals” that have been of world changing significance. The Abdication crisis, World War II, the end of Empire, the Cuban missile crisis as the world walked the tightrope of nuclear holocaust, the Cold War of 30 years, the AIDS global pandemic and much else besides, both good and not so good.
For her faith, her belief, her example, and her perspective we surely must give thanks to God.
We fast approach the season of Lent that as Christians we too ought to use spiritually as we prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Easter Day.
On Ash Wednesday we mark the start of the Lenten season with the celebration of Holy Communion and the Imposition of Ashes in Church.
Lent is a time to focus on our faith and relationship with Jesus and is intended to deepen both. The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, meaning springtime sharing the same root with the word lengthen. In the realm of nature, the hours lengthen, and we see signs of new growth all around us as winter turns into spring. So too if we plant ourselves ever deeper into the faith we will likewise discover and experience new growth and enlightenment that derives from God the Holy Spirit. I commend to you, as I do every year, to take upon some discipline or other of reading, prayer and devotion that will turn our season of Lent into Easter.
If you have no idea where to start or where to look, I am more than happy to advise from the vast store that I have accumulated over the years that continue to refresh my soul, give light to my path and offer the consolations of the faith in all the changing seasons and apparent “new normals” that come upon us all.