Fr Anthony Chantry is Missio’s National Director in England and Wales. In this guest blog, he shares his reflections on the nature of kingship, faith and mission.
Whatever viewpoint we may have about the Coronation of a King in these modern times – of a monarchist, royalist, republican, or of plain indifference – there is no denying the fact that the service in Westminster Abbey was steeped in Christian tradition and Gospel values.
In its course, King Charles was charged with promoting justice and mercy; resisting evil and defending the good; exercising authority with gentleness, grace, and wisdom; and being at the service of all people.
The Servant King
These values were taught and lived by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, who came to invite all people into the Kingdom of God. Like no other king in history, he chose not to rely on any of the earthly powers of wealth and military might to fulfil his mission. His power was rooted in his unique relationship with God, and showed itself in bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to captives, giving sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free (Luke 4:18).
‘Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your servant, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Matthew 20:26-28)
The Holy Father’s gift to King Charles of two fragments of the true cross on which Jesus was crucified spoke volumes not only as a generous ecumenical sign of goodwill, but also as a reminder of the price paid by Jesus for our redemption.
The precious relics have been set in the ‘Cross of Wales’ close to the words of St David:
‘Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.’
Queen of Heaven
Another ‘royal’ person is honoured in this month of May: Mary Queen of Heaven. Pope Pius IX wrote of her:
‘With a heart that is truly a mother’s, she was made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother’s prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused.’
All of this presents us with a serious challenge: when we were baptised, we were anointed with the oil of Chrism with the words:
‘As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.’
Building God’s Kingdom together
Sharing in Christ’s Kingship, we too are called by God to spend our lives in the service of others, especially those in need. We are chosen to live lives full of mercy, kindness, and compassion, in ways that are sincere, just, and true. This makes us signs of God’s Kingdom, which is slowly but surely coming into our world.
I am fully aware how far I am from being a truly effective sign of God’s Kingdom. I need all the means of help and encouragement I can muster, among them the prayers of Mary, Mother of God, the support of fellow pilgrims on the way with me, and the companionship of the Risen Lord.
I end with a final word of encouragement about the ministry of Missio across the world.
Our support of Missio is directly in keeping with our call to serve. For in supporting Churches in need, and the work of missionaries, we are enabling all concerned to bear witness to the coming of God’s Kingdom, where all share in the Kingship of Christ who came not to be served but to serve.
THY KINGDOM COME!
Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
St David, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.