Monday, December 26, 2011

preach it, ma'am!

It's been an interesting Christmas on TV! Obviously I loved Doctor Who, but something else remarkable happened: The Queen has been asserting herself as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and giving her clergy at large a fine example of how to preach on major festivals. The Christmas Day royal broadcast has been a staple of our national diet since 1932 when Rudyard Kipling (who of course is most famous for such immortal lines as "I want to be like you-oo-oo, oobidoo") wrote the first one for George V which began with the words "I speak to you from my home and from my heart".

The Queen this year grabbed Christmas by the throat, clearly being irritated by the media spotlight on the new-atheist front & the general smugness of the Guardianista set, and told us quite clearly that:
1. Christmas is a Christian festival
2. We all need saving - from ourselves sometimes
3. Christianity is about forgiveness
3. Philosophers are all very well but God sent us a Saviour which is better (goodness, was that her obit for Christopher Hitchens?)
4. We can have the life he came to offer us right now
5. Here's a prayer from a carol - pray it with me
6. I wish you all would, because it's what life is all about.

Of course, she did it in a wonderfully gracious & Queeny way, and it starts at about 4'55'' on this video:

In many ways, just reading the text makes it even more clear. Preach it, ma'am, preach it. As Greg Downes wrote on his Facebook page:
"When I heard this I thought Her Majesty should lead a church -then I remembered she did! Would that all her Vicars could communicate with her gracious conviction, loving faith and gentle boldness..."
The BBC also broadcast a lovely musical offering, A Musical Nativity with John Rutter. That link probably only works in the UK, and I expect for a limited time. It's a programme of JR's music & other Christmas carols tracing the Christmas story, and it is beautiful. Do take the time, it is well worth it. The presenter at one point tries to get Rutter to admit he's something of an agnostic (a reasonable well-known fact, despite the words of his carols which are beautiful and often very faithful). Rutter deflects her admirably. There may be a current trend for everyone in the media to poo-poo faith, but he does nothing of the sort. The Church has nurtured him, and he cannot imagine life without its services and liturgies and traditions. He "struggles signing on dotted lines" was his rather gracious way of putting his position forwards.

John, I think HMQ might be ringing you...

In case you can't watch the whole of the programme, here's a clip of King's Cambridge singing the first carol he wrote, at age 16 (spit):

1 comment:

mmp said...

The youngest one was also impressed....