The “common cold” has been getting a lot of attention recently. We’ve been warned about the danger of being heedless as it could lead to pneumonia – and that to death, especially for the elderly. Whether it be an excess of caution or a very serious infection, Queen Elizabeth of England has joined the ranks of those of us afflicted in this season, to the extent that she missed participating in her traditional Christmas church service for the first time in 30 years!
I was reminded of the Queen as I read a translation of this morning’s psalm (97) that used the word “Sovereign” for God in the first verse. It is God, I AM, who is sovereign over all, it said. We have been watching at our house the Netflix original series called The Crown which so far (only one season produced thus far) chronicles the period of Elizabeth II’s early life and the first decade of her reign as queen. The introduction to each episode is quite strikingly artistic, beginning with strands of molten gold, flowing and swirling and eventually forming the weighty (5 pounds, they say) crown of the queen. Just that piece and the title give a perfect introduction to the main theme of the entire series: the role of the sovereign which, as is clear from the oath at her coronation, comes directly from God. A weighty destiny indeed.
I have stopped after writing the above, not knowing where to take that thought. There is so much that flows from its meaning. Her serious demeanor seems rarely left behind, usually only when she has been seen walking her dogs in the countryside, for instance. That makes more sense to me now, having seen images of her struggling with the impossible task of one who is seen to have divine authority but at the same time is bound by centuries of protocols and traditions that seem ironclad, thus immune to her differing opinions. I feel a new compassion for her, rather than just a passing curiosity about what she is wearing or whether she is smiling when she appears on the news. Wherever this leads, it reminds me of the serious “job” of leadership and the task of the rest of us to research before we judge.