The Bishop of Selby, Dr John Thomson, writes:

The Big Weekend

I’ll be shouting ‘God save the King!’ from South Africa as His Majesty King Charles III is anointed and crowned on Saturday 6th May in Westminster Abbey; parish churches all across the country will Ring for the King as choirs joyfully Sing for the King in all sorts of settings.

A team of us are visiting our link dioceses around Cape Town so will miss the Services of Thanksgiving that follow on the Sunday, along with the Big Coronation Lunch and Monday’s Big Help Out. Hopefully we can join the Coronation Concert at Windsor on the Sunday evening.

It will indeed be a Big Weekend, yet with all this going on it is easy to forget that human monarchy was not welcomed by all in ancient Israel, as we see in 1 Samuel 8-10. For some, human monarchy rivalled God’s monarchy and challenged the idea that the Lord is King. This can also be seen in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, which speaks of the dangers of abusive monarchy in its charter for a good Monarch.

However, for others the Monarch was the anointed one, the Messiah, the figure responsible for ensuring that the nation kept faith with God. For Christians this monarchy of the Messiah is seen in Jesus, who washed his disciples’ feet and embraced a sacrificial death on behalf of his people. And it is this vision of servant monarchy which is at the heart of the anointing and coronation of King Charles III.

So this Big Weekend I’ll be joining you from South Africa to pray for King Charles III, as he is set apart for his calling as King by anointing with holy oil, the symbol of the sacral character of his reign.

And as King, may he live Christ’s Story, the story of the Servant King.

God save the King!

+John Selby