Churches and schools across Newcastle Diocese celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III with a range of special services and community events.
St. Andrew's Cambois
St. John's Kingston Park
Bishop’s Primary School
Holy Trinity, Embleton
Holy Trinity, Jesmond
St. John's Percy Main
St. John's Sleekburn
St. Peter's, Falstone
St. Michael's Wark
St. Columba's Wideopen
St. Cuthbert's Bedlington
St. Mary's Monkseaton
Berwick upon Tweed Parish Church
St. Peter and St. Paul Longhoughton
Christ Church, North Shields - Ring for the King
Holy Spirit, Denton. Big Lunch.
Charlton Court Care Home celebrated with Church of the Good Shepherd
Like a Metaphor, a Coronation column by Tim Hardy, a former employee of the Religious Resources Centre and contributor to Link.
The British public have been invited to pledge allegiance, during the coronation, to the new king - those watching the service will be given the opportunity to join in with a democratised version of the "Homage of Peers":
"I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."
It seems a little reminiscent of the Scout promise I made every week as a preteen child - "to do my duty to God and the queen, to help other people, and to keep the Scout Law."
At the time, we didn't think much about the civic duties (or the rest of it) but the weekly repetition pretty-much ingrained the concepts in my childhood mind - even if the focus of those duties may have changed somewhat in the intervening years. Back in 1979, Bob Dylan told us that we had to serve somebody - whether it would be the Devil or the Lord was more or less left up to us to decide for ourselves.
Jesus himself told us that we couldn't serve two masters or we'd end up loving one and hating the other. We've recently been through Holy Week when we identified with (among other groups of people from the story) the crowds who made their choice and shouted, "We have no king but Caesar!" in the immediate run up to his crucifixion.
Even further back, Samuel - the last Judge of Israel - warned the nation (in God's own words) about the costs of having human rulers, rather than serving God directly: there'd be a lot of take and not much give. And the people considered that a price worth paying, ushering in the very mixed bag of good and bad kings of Israel that followed. I do wonder how those discussions with Samuel were conducted and what input or choice the everyday subjects-to-be had in matters.
Today, we're somewhat beyond that stage - we've generally very little choice whether we have a king, and Royal contact is as distant and untouchable as the fairy-tale princesses (or occasionally princes) who populated my early childhood reading.
In direct contrast to Samuel's kingly price, Jesus promises those who follow him: rest, an easy yoke and a light burden. In direct contrast to the pomp and splendour of our coronation, Jesus processed into his kingdom riding a donkey. He promises to be with us until the "end of the age" - and that at the end of that age, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes and that his servants will reign with him.
The Bible also tells us to respect our rulers and those in authority over us, so whilst the new king should be assured of our prayers and due reverence, let us be careful whose kingdom we pledge fealty to and choose to serve.