The day after the Coronation of King Charles III, Archbishop Stephen joined the Good Morning Sunday programme on BBC Radio 2 to share a Pause for Thought.
So, how lucky was I!
A front row seat for the Coronation of King Charles and even a small part to play in the ceremony itself. I have a bruised arm from all the times I was pinching myself not quite believing that somehow I was playing a part in history. I was even persuaded to buy a new pair of shoes for the occasion! Fortunately, they didn’t pinch. Because there was a lot of standing up to do.
And what a fabulous occasion it was. The grandest thing you’ve ever seen. Choirs and crowns, orbs and sceptres, thrones, processions, military bands, carriages, and an Abbey packed full of important people.
Yet very simple. A service of Holy Communion. The same service that happens in every church every Sunday, every week and every year, something all of us can go to. And in amongst the great and the grand, others from all walks of life, including Max, who camped out in a tent for three years, raising money for North Devon Hospice following the death of his neighbour from cancer. John from Fraserburgh who set up parcel deliveries during the lockdown and went on to establish a community food pantry. And many more who all have a story to tell of how they have served others.
And a small child opening the proceedings and the King saying, ‘I come not to be served but to serve.’
Because King Charles, like the late Queen, is called to a life of service to God, our nation and the Commonwealth.
And this is actually something all of us can do.
Tomorrow, we have a particular opportunity to be part of a vision of a life that serves others, which helps our communities to thrive, as part of the Big Help Out. I'd encourage people to get involved in this, I'm going to a foodbank in York.
Our world desperately needs leaders who are servants. And we need to care for each other in communities of support and mutual care. This is how we will change the world. And it often begins with small acts of compassion, such as extending a hand of friendship, being there for a neighbour, or giving of our time and energy to something that matters to us.
But it can’t end there, maybe that is what we can take forward from the coronation. We need a really big vision of justice for all, a coming together of our nation and a coming together of the nations of the world. This weekend is a reminder of who we strive to be. Just like the many people who came together to make the coronation happen, so we are called to learn from each other and work together as a nation, with and for others in our community, to make this world a better place.