St. Nicholas Church, Silton, Dorset

   St Nicholas Church
   Silton, Dorset
   SP8 5PR

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Anointed for service

How many of us remember the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II on the second of June 1953?   If you can remember it you can probably tell me where you were and what you were doing.   Gathered around a television set with family members, friends and neighbours or listening to it on the wireless? Perhaps in the same way you will remember what you will have done on the sixth of May 2023 and in the future tell your descendants about it in just the same way.   Perhaps not though, as so much has changed, and they will simply be able to find videos of it on the internet and watch it themselves?   Perhaps we will remember something else.

The most private moment in the coronation is the moment of anointing with oil, "in the midst of this glorious spectacle is a moment of stillness and simplicity," writes our Archbishop, Justin Welby.   "A private moment between the new King and the King of Kings”, when “the King is set apart for service: service of the people of this country and service of God.   This is why at this moment he will exchange robes of status and honour for a simple white shirt.”

The King is presented to God as a servant, “in the full knowledge that even as King he is one of the people, and even if he has a particular role to fulfil, he shares in our human frailties and vulnerabilities.   In its simplicity, the anointing is the only route towards bearing power and responsibility well:  asking for God’s help in the task and accepting its responsibility.”

In the same way all Christians are anointed at baptism for service, with our frailties and our vulnerabilities.   We too ask for God’s help in the tasks and responsibilities that we bear.

May King Charles’ coronation be a wonderful joyful celebration and renewal of a common commitment to service for all.   May this be what we remember.

God bless 

Love Peter                                                                                 Canon Peter Greenwood


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