June / July 2022

The forthcoming celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will no doubt be appreciated and enjoyed by many. Quite rightly time and effort will be spent celebrating a remarkable milestone in the life of both monarch and nation. Many in this land, and not a few beyond, will express thankfulness for Her Majesty’s long and dutiful service.

Seventy years is a long time and from the Church it deserves a Christian perspective. Lest the inevitable reflections and retrospectives be dominated by the chattering classes and the celebrations themselves be marred by those who find any excuse for a party, a word is required about ‘jubilee’. 

The idea of a jubilee originated in ancient Israel as a means of marking time. The sabbath was central to the keeping of a seven day week, something we are very familiar with. The seventh year similarly was a time of rest and restitution during which land was left fallow and debts were remitted. The jubilee came about as the fiftieth year being the next year after a ‘sabbath of sabbaths’. At this time slaves were emancipated and land which had been sold was returned to its original owner. This had the effect of making transactions involving the land similar to our current leasehold system which meant that in effect only the ‘benefit of the land’ not the freehold was sold. The purpose of this was to retain the original tribal system of land-holding in which each of the twelve Israelite tribes had its own proper possession, given to it by God. It also had the benefit of maintaining the liberty of peasants who might otherwise be left permanently without a land-holding. All together the system of jubilee retained the freedom and identity of the twelve tribes and their members within the unity of the nation. It is uncertain to what extent the laws of jubilee were adhered to and the application certainly changed over the centuries, but that does not affect the basic principle.

The theological point to draw out of the idea of the jubilee is that both time and the nation (both people and land) belong to God. Such an application obviously transfers from Old Testament understanding to the Christian and specifically to a Christian nation (however that is conceived). To declare a jubilee is to make a declaration about God’s sovereignty, not just in the life of the individual, but in respect of the nation.

Whatever the pundits might think, this is a Christian country, determined not by adherence to the faith or the faithfulness of its adherents, but by the nature of the monarchy. In this country we have a Christian monarchy determined by the sacramental nature of the role. To this end, at the coronation, the monarch is anointed with oil and Holy Communion is celebrated. Thus the king or queen embodies Christian monarchy in his or her person. As such it is similar to ordination and is quite different from having a monarch who happens to be Christian.

The celebration of the jubilee is not then just a ‘big birthday’, but a recognition of the true nature of the monarchy and of God’s claims upon our land and lives. This is not in theory exclusive to this country. It is just that everybody else has abandoned or rejected it. To live in a Christian country with an anointed monarch, especially one who has done her duty for seventy years, is a great privilege and one that is unique in our time. Any reflection of this nature of course raises huge questions about what will happen in the future, but for now give thanks for Her Majesty the Queen and for God’s sovereignty in our land. Pray too for all the people, that in a time of jubilee, all may find the true belonging and freedom which only God can give.

PRAYER FOCUS

Pray for discernment over the future of the Family Service.

Pray too for the people of Ukraine and Russia, especially those who live amongst us.

From the registers

Funerals

10th May                                   Margaret Wrenn (92 years)

Spring Fair

Thank you to all who supported the Spring Fair. A lovely social occasion was crowned by financial success.

Our total takings were £1161.30 for the benefit of the charities we support. The summary is as follows:-

  1. Lyn’s bites – £220.00
  2. Cakes- £78.00
  3. This n That – £38.00
  4. Cream Teas – £134.10
  5. Plants – £566.20
  6. Donations (inc. Susan’s jewellery) – £125.00

Family Service

At the service in May we explored and celebrated the ways in which God welcomes people. We reflected on Jesus’ ministry to the outcast and to those in need and then heard the story of his reconciliation to St. Peter following the apostle’s betrayal.

Contact details:

Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.

Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).

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