As a priest in the Established Church I believe it is important that the leadership of the church upholds Christian values. The monarch and government retain a leadership role in the church that can often conflict with Christian values. The recent visit of the King of Bahrain, accused of brutal repression, demonstrates affairs of state trumping the role of supreme governor. It is difficult for the church to speak truth to power when that power appoints its chief spokesmen.
The concept of ‘jubilee’ is an Ancient Near Eastern practice of restitution, including the forgiveness of debts. In the Hebrew Bible (Lev. 25), this ‘yovel’ is demanded of God’s people as a rebalancing of society. Whereas our society is crying out for this kind of jubilee, what we are given is an expensive personality cult. It does not take a Hebrew prophet to point out that this is a sinful inversion of how anointed leadership should be exercised.
Churches up and down Britain will be holding services and events to mark the ‘jubilee’, and, while these may serve some good in celebrating community, there is the danger that the focus will be on an earthly monarch and vague ideas of nation rather than on the King and Kingdom of Heaven.
- Queen dines with King of Bahrain (scotsman.com)
- Queen’s Jubilee lunch overshadowed by row over King of Bahrain (telegraph.co.uk)
- Queen greets King of Bahrain at Jubilee lunch (itv.com)
- Bahrain’s King at Queen’s lunch (thisislondon.co.uk)