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The Queen's Speech

The Queen's latest Christmas speech was interesting:

Oops, not that one*. This one. She was pretty unreserved in her expression of personal faith in Jesus and confidence in the grace and power of God - and in her desire for others to experience the same. To quote:
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. 
Of course, my response was a resounding 'amen'...I struggle to think of the monarchy as anything much more than a tourist attraction, but even so I've a lot of time for HM. And to hear someone in such a public position being so frank and open was very refreshing, and personally encouraging. But even though (in my opinion) she was gracious and humble in doing so (as per 1 Pet 3:15), yet she risked a backlash from those maybe not so comfortable with being offered religious exhortation from their head of state.

The media coverage was what interested me the most: perhaps best described as 'embarassed silence'. That is, they made a big deal of all the 'safe' stuff she talked about - mostly choosing to focus on family - and rather obfuscated or avoided all the troublesome 'religion' (or at least tried to tuck it away at the end when everyone had stopped reading).

Perhaps if there had been less respect or affection for her in the public sphere, there might have been more outrage and/or ridicule. Though, surely, either would be preferable to polite restraint or indifference. Even in my own life, people are very 'patient' with me talking about Jesus or referencing the Bible, and I very seldom get to hear what anyone really thinks. My fault, I guess, if I have given the impression that I would be offended. Maybe these who hold back from heartfelt response out of politeness are right - maybe I wouldn't be able to take it with grace. I am, after all, of a nervy and sensitive disposition. But that would be my failing, and I'd want the opportunity to correct it - especially if it opened the way for dialogue: wisdom is open to reason, after all.

* Sorry: extremely tenuous excuse to throw in some Adam Buxton...I guess you had to be a certain age and of a certain disposition in a certain place and time in recent cultural history, and then to have stubbornly refused to 'grow up' since then, to find that even remotely funny. But there's a lot of us in that category and, consequently, Adam and Joe maintain a substantial and affectionate following.


John B said…
Thanks for this Carolyn. I had wanted to hear the Queen's speech and missed it this year. So this was a good excuse to read it. I was really encouraged by her faith expression and encouragement to the public to find room in their hearts for God's love through Jesus. Yes, forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith.
Whatever the reason for the media's silence on the matter of her expression of faith and her prayer, I think the Queen offered a wonderful example of living out her convictions, sharing her faith and expressing her hope that others would join her in that faith. We should all be doing the same to let our faith speak for itself rather than absconding the responsibility. When we do this we inadvertently let other less gracious voices speak for our Christian faith.