Monday, July 14, 2014

Send Him victorious

Really, I should be a republican.

Equality, liberty, fraternity, and other revolutionary and broadly lefty values – inspired by my take on what it means to follow Jesus – these are what I tend to set my compass by.

But when I discovered Prince William was coming to Coventry Memorial Park this coming Wednesday I found myself scanning the internet for details (so that the missus and I could go and wave union jacks or something, I scarcely know). And when I read today’s article in the Independent about controversy over the Royal Family being granted a new right of secrecy, I found myself sympathetic not to the lefty-liberal voices of protest, but to Ma’am and her family.

I sympathise with the succession of Labour Prime ministers accused by Helen McCrory’s Cherie Blair in the film, The Queen, of throwing out principle and going ‘gaga over the Queen’.

It goes a long way back. I’ve been reading about the Peasants’ Revolt in the 14th century. Incensed with the injustices they faced, the lower orders declared war on the ruling classes. But not the king. Oh no: ‘King Richard and the true commons’ was their rallying cry. (Richard II, the king idolised by the revolting peasants went on to be a tyrant of the worst kind, before being toppled by Henry IV.)

But I sympathise with them, too.

And before we rush to paint these medieval rustics as dwellers in a cruder, more superstitious age, remember those Labour Prime Ministers. Remember the flowers for Diana. Remember ten million annual Queen’s Speech viewers.

So I don’t think I’m all that unusual regarding my strange hypocritical royalism. I think royalty has an enduring appeal. And not just our British Royalty, either – royalty per se.

Even when human beings get rid of kings, they replace them with pseudo-kings. Mr President, perhaps. Or Mrs Iron Lady. Or Mr or Ms rock/sports/film star.

Something deep within the human psyche longs for a monarch, someone with power, who knows what’s best and will make it so.

Could it be that human beings long for a Messiah? A once and future king?

To quote some 12th century words still sung today:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

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