Saturday, April 28, 2012
April 28 - Kingdom, Priesthood, and Battle Authority
It could be said that Elizabeth, destined by her birth to be Queen,took up a priesthood and battle authority at her coronation. As a matter of fact, she had given herself to her people five years before on her 21st birthday, in a broadcast she made from Capetown, South Africa.
“I declare to you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
We might say, she “gets it.” Her namesake did, too, Elizabeth I speaking to assembled troops at Tilbury.
My loving people . . . We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms . . . not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.
These are not King David’s words, nor Joab’s nor Joshua’s, but can we not hear the sound of devotion and assurance, that some things are worth fighting for? Elizabeth, this Elizabeth, cannot declare war, and she would by far rather pursue peace, but she, as her father before her, will fight and will lead honorably in time of war. Our fight is not with flesh and blood, but if we will not take up arms, the battle may be lost.
We, too, have kingdom, priesthood, and battle authority. Oh, let us see how much depends upon our faithfulness, though we cannot know how far-reaching our success or failure might be! This we know, that there is a cause, that others should be set at liberty to love and be loved, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might go forth to that end, and with this in mind, we go, privileged spectators, to Westminster Abbey on Coronation Day, June 2, 1953.
Arrival at Westminster Abbey
June 2, 1953