Do promises matter? Yes. The Queen’s life shows us why.
There is great merit in people making excellent promises, freely and without compulsion. The great merit shows itself as the promise-maker follows through, to the benefit of others as well as their own character and reputation.
We have been the beneficiaries of excellent promises of commitment made by the Queen.
Some fellow vicars try to convince me that it’s not just about ‘bums on seats’. What they mean is that we shouldn’t be so worried if people don’t come to church. So it is that many clergy in our country try to make themselves feel better about small congregations and declining numbers.
However, the issue of ‘bums on seats’ should not be so easily dismissed.
Some locals might say ‘If you want bums on your seats, you’ll need to make them more comfortable!’ Well, we are tackling that one! By the end of this month, we hope to take delivery of pew cushions for all of the church pews (apart from the balcony).
At the Annual Church Meeting in May, a church member made a plea to address this issue: padding for our rears. Others backed the proposal and so we have researched alternatives, and ordered pew cushions.
Lots of things are getting back to normal, including church life, and lots of holidays, but that doesn’t mean we’re all feeling normal. Lots of us are feeling the effects of our recent two years of Covid disruption. We do well to happily embrace the resumption of relative normality and also to work through our continuing feelings of loss.
In church, we are pleased to have resumed the receiving of holy communion in both kinds.
The Psalms in the Bible have played a big part in the life of many Christians. I remember how a couple once told me Psalm 91 had got them through World War 2; reading it together each evening had gone a long way to sustaining them through those dark days.
When we asked the congregations of St Luke’s which of the Psalms they would like to hear preached over the Summer, we were given a lot to chew on.
Top of the list came Psalm 121 ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills… from where does my help come?’. Equal second were Psalm 139 ‘O Lord you have searched me and known me’, and Psalm 150 ‘Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord’. And also in the long list of requests were Psalms 23, 27, 36, 46, 51, 66, 67, 86, 91, 96, 104, 105, 137, 143 and 145.
I’m giving thanks for 70 years of the gracious reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and I’m glad so many people in our nation and Commonwealth are joining the thanksgiving.
It is a unique thing to be in the generation which is marking a Platinum Jubilee. It is a more remarkable thing that we are the generation which has benefitted from her leadership as our Head of State for so long. We probably take the benefits for granted, but we shouldn’t.
We need prayer. We always need prayer.
And when all sorts of other things on which we rely are feeling less reliable, we do well to recognise that a living relationship with our Heavenly Father is more necessary than ever. We need prayer because the lifeblood of our relationship with God is prayer.