The example of Jesus

Early in the Coronation Service of King Charles III, Samuel Strachan, Child of his Majesty’s Chapel Royal, spoke to the King, “The King your Majesty, as children of the kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of kings.” The King replied, “In his name and after his example I come not to be served but to serve.” Later in the Coronation Service the King prayed, “God of compassion and mercy whose Son was sent not to be served but to serve, give grace that I may find in thy service perfect freedom and in that freedom knowledge of thy truth. Grant that I may be a blessing to all thy children, of every faith and conviction, that together we may discover the ways of gentleness and be led into the paths of peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

On one occasion Jesus’ disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

King Charles has taken this to heart and, like his mother, is committed to serving his people in Britain and the Commonwealth in the spirit of the Lord Jesus. At the age of 21 Queen Elizabeth vowed that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” In making his promise to a child King Charles also recognised that his reign has potential to be a blessing to the rising generation who are in many ways so vulnerable. He anchored his promise “in the name and example of Jesus.”

Jesus taught that those who would become his disciples must do so in childlike simplicity. Pride and a spirit of self-confidence are great barriers to knowing Jesus. When people brought their little children to Jesus his disciples rebuked them, but Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

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