Reflection for Good Shepherd Sunday and the Coronation

“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” Jesus, in today’s Gospel John 10:1-10.

“A nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves .” Edward Murrow.

This week will see the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla who, it’s been announced from Buckingham Palace, will become Queen when she is crowned. The monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and, as Jesus declared himself to be the Good Shepherd caring for the flock (John 10:11) so this is an appropriate time to consider the sacred and pastoral kingship at the heart of the Coronation.

Much has changed since the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II seventy years ago, an event my mum can recall watching in a packed room on a small black and white television set. Then, 8,000 guests crammed into Westminster Abbey for a ceremony lasting for three hours using scaffolded seating in conditions which health and safety regulations prevent today. Now, there will be 2,000 guests, the pomp and circumstance has been curtailed and the ceremony itself has been updated, with the route from the palace to the abbey and back being considerably shortened.

There has been some comment about this and its cost, which may reach £250 million with the massive security operation that will also be needed. At its heart will be a thousand years of history as Charles lll is anointed and crowned in the same place as William the Conqueror and a new reign is heralded after the trials during and since the coronavirus pandemic. 

‘Corona’ originates from the Latin word meaning halo or crown so the corona-tion is the act and ceremony of the crowning of a monarch, although there have been some recent inaccurate references to the King being coronated. The monarch’s crown has arches, denoting the sovereign or highest power present, whereas corona-virus was named because of its resemblance to a solar corona or halo under an electron microscope. Jesus, the King of Kings in the Bible, is sometimes shown with a halo although his crown was of thorns and his throne was a cross – there are also icons in the Shrine Church of St Melangell with a corona or halo, indicating a holy person. Melangell herself is also associated with shepherding, hares in this valley still being called Melangell’s lambs. 

As the Coronation of Charles lll draws near, not everyone will be swearing allegiance to him as invited, or joining in with the celebrations. But in every life – not just the sovereign’s – there can be a crowning moment or sacred time of the greatest significance or achievement. What is yours? 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.