Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19 – The Bejeweled Sword

From the moment the Queen had arrived at the Abbey, the elderly Marquess of Salisbury had been bearing, in two handed grip, with the blade upright, the Great Sword of State. The sword is over 4 feet in height and weighs more than eight pounds.

The Golden Spurs were brought to Elizabeth, the first of the Regalia to be presented, ancient objects of Knighthood and chivalry, and representing the supremacy of monarchs over those who ride out from the Coronation in her loyal service. In days of old, these were worn by Kings at their Coronation, but Elizabeth laid her hand upon them and sent them once again to the altar.

Now, something of a Sword Dance began, as the Marquess surrendered the Great Sword of State to the Lord Chamberlain of the Household and then the Sword of the Offering was placed in his hands. This sword was then presented to the Archbishop, who brought it before God at the Altar, praying these words from the Liber Regalis, that the Queen might use it “as the Minister of God for the terror and punishment of evildoers, and for the protection and encouragement of those that do well.” Somebody has been reading their Scripture passages!

Then, joined by the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of London and Winchester, the bejeweled Sword caught the light and sparkled all the way to Elizabeth and was placed in her hand, blade up.

“With this Sword do justice, stop the growth of iniquity, protect the Holy Church of God, help and defend widows and orphans, restore the things that are gone to decay, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order . . .”

What comes next? In the presentation of the Regalia, we will see, tomorrow. What comes next for us in Cor Unum is to discover . . . are we doing with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, what royal priests are meant to do? Are we doing justice, stopping the growth of iniquity, protecting the Body of Christ, helping and defending widows and orphans . . .

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