Jubilee Sunday

by Anna Blanch on June 3, 2012

I was reading Judges 9 this morning and thinking about a response to the Jubilee celebrations (and on a different note the Memorial Day observances in the US last weekend). How do we respond to moments and occasions that have nationalism and pride in country at their core? Christ is my King, but so too is Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia. But how do I think about heralding her Jubilee?

Did you see her Christmas message from last year?

It is worth watching and listening to.

But what has the bible to say about this?

Romans 13:1 – Every person must be subject to the governing authorities, for no authority exists except by God’s permission. The existing authorities have been established by God.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 also commands us to pray for our leaders and all persons in positions of authority, 1 Peter 2:13 says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme”; 1 Peter 2:14: “Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” and finally, 1 Peter 2:17 says “Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king”.

I honour her, like I honour all those in elected government and positions of power and authority, an in that regard to celebrate the milestone of 60 years seems appropriate.

But what place have these celebrations to displace the gathering meant for joining together for corporate worship and prayer and praise to God?

The placing of flags and bunting on church buildings, in the grounds, and even inside churches is a phenomena with which I am quite uncomfortable.But, to speak of church buildings as holy and sacred places and to start to quibble with their aesthetic decoration on theological ground raises a greater range of theological issues than I can deal with here and now. Needless to say, that I really have a problem with flags in spaces that have been set aside for gatherings of God’s people for worship, teaching, and praising the Lord together.

To honour country and Queen is not the same as idolization and worship. I say this as someone who has worn a uniform and sworn an oath of allegiance and commissioned as a military officer. We must be careful in our fervour to celebrate that which should rightfully be observed and celebrated that we don’t do so at the expense of worshipping the one under whose authority all this occurs. And, if you have another listen to that Christmas message, i’m of the  mind that her majesty wouldn’t want to be worshipped or revered in place of the most high king…

All of that to say, I’m heading off to the Jubilee Street party hosted by my church here in St Andrews, but I’ll be sharing in a time of teaching later this evening with Hans Baer.

Happy Jubilee Sunday everyone! and Congratulations to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 60 years on the throne (a mighty effort)!

What are you up to this weekend?


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