Even at such times, as I’m given to wonder whether the generations of heirs might be something of a disappointment compared to Queen Elizabeth, I remain a member of the church over which she has been Supreme Governor for seven decades.
Some mischaracterise her as ‘head of the Church of England’, which is nonsense, as Jesus Christ is the head.
Just as David and Solomon ruled over God’s people in the time of our ancient ancestors, our Queen has been anointed and consecrated for the immense vocation she has borne for (almost) twice my span of years.
In recent months she has been much in the prayers of the Church of England, as advancing years, the death of her consort, and repeated turbulence elsewhere in the family have not given her much quietness.
It is not what anyone would want for a hardworking nonagenarian, but most parents worry about – and from time to time are troubled by – their offspring and great-offspring.
I suppose it’s reassuring that even a family with such responsibility to set an example of public service is, after all, merely human.
It’s incredible to think of the things that have occurred during the past 70 years and the ways in which human society has evolved.
In the changing face of things, the Crown has been, for us, a point of stability.
When we have felt let down by governments, lied to or left in the lurch, we have had the sense of the Queen maternally standing by her people. And then, when there has been great joy at the heart of our lives, and things worth serious celebration in our communities, our nation, or our world, there is a palpable sense in which she is able to speak to our condition.
Not everyone is going to be able, in this unprecedented jubilee year, to articulate a sense of value of Britain’s constitutional monarchy or the positive way it continues to serve British life.
But as we proved last Sunday, as we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Accession Day at All Saints, it is an opportunity for us to come together.
The last two years have left us with a palpable sense of our divisions and differences, formed of the cracks in our former togetherness, that risks our lapse into old scepticisms and suspicions of each other.
We are, however, not the same as we were, and with this opportunity for a nation to gather and mark the passing of time, and the exercise of public duty and servanthood, we have a chance to recognise how we have changed and to consider how we want to live.