In his eloquent and epic defence before Agrippa – worthy of all the pomp and praise of William Wallace on the field of battle – the apostle Paul famously quipped in reference to the death and resurrection of Christ,
“For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.”
And yet, while that was very true then, there are some things – things of great importance – that have mostly escaped notice and are, in fact, done just there; in the corner.
Quietly, just over a few weeks ago, Britain’s sovereign queen mother gave her royal nod to same-sex unions (both of the civil and religious variety) Britain legalizes gay marriage as Queen Elizabeth II gives royal approval.
And, to some small degree, i get it. With reports surfacing with increasing frequency that the world – British and non – are questioning the relevance and necessity for the monarchy, the pressure to (as the Dixie Chicks were famously told) “Shut up and sing” must have been enormous. When you’re on the way out – like Britney Spears once was for instance – the efforts to remain “in” become increasingly desperate.
Britney succeeded (for the time being) – it remains to be seen if the British monarchy will.
And yes, yes. It was – at the end of the day – a mere formality when you look at it. The queen’s “yea” or “nay” would not have really affected the decision at all!
And yet. And yet. For all the protestations in the world that it wouldn’t have made any difference either way, for the one who claims the identity of “evangelical Christian” as her majesty Elizabeth II does (and, as i’m reading J. I. Packer’s Fundamentalism and the Word of God presently, i’m coming to see that as a vastly more important thing than i used to) they are held to an entirely different standard than the rest of the world. That is, that there are decisions that one makes that appear to have absolutely no significance in our world whatsoever, and yet, which carry an eternal significance beyond measure.
The rub of it all is this: it doesn’t matter a whit whether or not the queen’s decision would’ve changed anything for the country in their decision to legalize same-sex unions. What does matter is that the positions of queen, or president, or prime minister, etc. are all superseded by the position of, what Paul calls, a servant/slave of Jesus Christ; that is at least, for the one who claims it of themselves.
And integrity in that decision called for maintaining the standards of God’s Word, even if it meant the loss of popularity – yea – even the death knell of the whole British monarchy. For as Christ Himself said to Pilate, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” or as God says to Nebuchadnezzar, “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” That royal position was given by sovereign choice not by right and it was meant to be stewarded as such.
Quietly – in a corner then – a step of seeming unimportance, but with vast long-term significance, took place and went mostly un-noticed. And one day, that will have to be answered for.