Monday, July 4, 2016

Ponder: "The Altar first, and then the throne"

“One of the first really spectacular public events to be televised was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.    Michael Ramsey was the Bishop of Durham at the time of the coronation. By tradition the Bishop of Durham stood by the monarch’s right hand during the coronation. Ultimately Ramsey became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a great theologian and is thought by many to have been a genuinely holy man.    With his massive head, notoriously bushy eyebrows and striking presence in vestments, the cameramen followed him closely. In the video, he can be seen muttering to himself as he crosses in front of the altar on his way from his seat to the throne to take his place by the side of the young queen.    Thanks to the new technology, thousands of people saw this and naturally the question came up, "Bishop, what were you saying to yourself?" His answer: "I was keeping my bows and reverences straight -- First God, then the Queen.    The altar first, then the throne."
Leander Harding, "The Cross and the Flag" 4 Jul 2016.

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