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Changing times

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve... Mark 10.45

At his coronation yesterday King Charles III gave the clearest expression of his Christian faith, through declaring his intention to follow the example of his Lord in prioritising service over power. Yet the verse above continues "... and to give his life as a ransom for many". This is an aspiration to which even so experienced and accomplished a royal as King Charles cannot attain because the earthly life of Jesus was unique in being perfect - as befits the King who is Saviour as well as Lord.

It was fascinating watching yesterday's events unfold along streets and past landmarks I visited just a few days ago. Even so close to the occasion there was little sign of what was about to happen and, no doubt, once the tents have been taken down and the debris cleared away normality will quickly return. And this begs the question which was raised in the commentary on yesterday's proceedings: how can a Christian monarch crowned in a church service reflect a nation which is relentlessly turning its back on religion?

The answer may be to point out that this reflects a secular perspective. A Christian might want to recognise that what is actually happening to the Church and to society in Britain is that God is refining us, as he refined ancient Israel many times according to the Old Testament, while maintaining a faithful remnant through whom to bring fresh blessing and further growth in due course. Times of exigency, therefore, are not for throwing in the towel but for digging deep, not for despair but for the renewal of hope, not for chasing after quick fixes or attractive alternatives but for a firmer faith in the King of kings and Lord of lords.



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