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“My time is not yet here; for you any time will do." John 7.6

When that which is eternal breaks into chronological time, it is as if everything stands still. It happens every time someone dies in faith. In that person's transition from this life into the next, we get a glimpse of eternity as heaven's gates open to receive them. In Her Majesty's case, the effect is magnified through the official period of mourning into which we have entered. Queen Elizabeth is with God in heaven yet, for ten days, her mortal remains will lie in state - until she is laid to rest at her funeral on Monday 19 September (we assume).

From that perspective it feels premature to be singing 'God save the King...'. Yet what seems to be emerging from the exhaustive media coverage of national and international grief, tempered by the ritual of succession, is that this business of monarchy matters more deeply and widely than we realised. Beseeching God on Charles' behalf is not simply for the sake of his own aggrandisement - though we wish him well - it is actually about securing the stability and prosperity that benefits everybody when the throne of our nation is occupied and the incumbent is equal to the task.

It that is as far as our trust extends then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, if not for a fall. Human-beings are fallible, we make mistakes, we fall short of our ideals and the expectations of others. That is why we appeal to God - to secure what, for us, is impossible. That is why King Charles was inspired in his reference to his ecclesiastical responsibilities. His faithfulness as monarch depends upon his faithfulness to God and that will affect us all because it will influence whether the society we share flourishes or fails.



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