At the end of November 2018, I was standing with a colleague on the South Bank looking across at the Houses of Parliament. We were about to present a paper at sports conference in Lambeth Palace. The lights were on across the river in the Houses of Parliament. Theresa May was presenting her Brexit bill that day. My colleague and I said a prayer for the developing confusion in Government.
At lunchtime, I went to a service of Holy Communion in Lambeth Chapel. Lambeth Chapel is steeped in history with many references to churches around the world. Above the altar table on the left is a balcony behind which Cranmer wrote the Book of Common Prayer. I imagined those early days of the Reformation and development of the Church of England.
It was the week before Advent, the week of Christ the King. At the end of the service, the priest said before the blessing ‘Christ the King – the one truth in a world of uncertainty’. I remember thinking how appropriate that was.
Last week I attended the installation of the new Bishop of Bath and Wells – Bishop Michael Beasley. He met a group of clergy from Bath. He was asked how he felt his new flock were feeling. And how were we to help care for them? He replied that he felt people were anxious and distrustful. Anxious because of the war, climate change and looming financial difficulties this winter – difficulties in aspects of daily living such as warmth and food. And distrustful because of the behaviour of our politicians and other public figures. Therefore we, as the body of Christ, needed to be hopeful, credible and competent.
Again, I recalled the phrase of the priest in Lambeth: “Christ the King – the one truth in a world of uncertainties.” How relevant this is today.
A closing prayer:
Whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne in heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever