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BBC Radio 2 - Pause for Thought

York Minster Royal Maundy

Friday 10th June 2016

The Archbishop of York delivers his Pause for Thought on the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show on the day of a National and Commonwealth Service of Thanksgiving for Her Majesty the Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday and Prince Philip’s Ninety-Fifth Birthday. This follows in full...

One of the delightful characteristics of a human being is our insatiable desire to keep promises – in spite of our tendency to forget or our repeated failure to keep them.

For example, as a minister of the Gospel, many, many people say or write to me asking, “Please pray for me and for such and such”.

Normally, I do it straight away. Thankfully many a time prayers offered for people or situations are answered. What about the unanswered ones?

Well, with the passage of time, keeping the promise to pray constantly without ceasing is very challenging!

Chris and your listeners, am I the only one who struggles with the keeping of a whole host of promises alive? Keeping them not only for a day, a week, a month, a year, but as long as I live?

Her Majesty by Divine Providence Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith, in her first Christmas Day Broadcast in 1952, asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire “to pray for her on the day of her coronation – that God may give her wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises she would be making, and that she may faithfully serve God and her peoples, all the days of her life.”

And the Queen writing in a foreword to the book, ‘The Servant Queen and the King she serves”, published to celebrate her ninetieth birthday, said this:

“I have been – and remain – very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love. I have indeed seen His faithfulness.”

Ah! That’s it! The prayers of others, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, made visible, are key to the keeping of promises.

So is the sincerity and devotion manifested consistently by Her Majesty throughout her lifelong and glorious reign. They have served greatly to strengthen that bond between the Sovereign and all her Peoples.

The keeping of promises? “Put your hand into the hand of God …”

And “stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you” (Jude 21a).

So rejoice and give thanks and have confidence for the future. Live today as if tomorrow is already here. Keep the promises. For the best is yet to be.


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