What will you be doing on May 6th? Some will be glued to the TV from the crack of dawn, others will enjoy a day off and let the day’s events pass them by. The English way of crowning kings and queens is, as far as I can make out, different from what happens in other European countries which still have a royal family. The difference is that this is a religious ceremony, where the new king and queen will formally take up their roles in a context of prayer, where God’s presence is celebrated.
That is a special way of beginning a new role, whatever that role is. My own ordination, nearly thirty years ago in Mirfield Methodist Church, marked the moment when I became a minister of Christ’s church. Sometimes when I’ve completely messed up, I’ve needed to look back to that moment and remember that the church prayed then for me to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that this gift has not been taken from me. And since then there have been welcome services in various places, with the reaffirmation that God is with me in all that the new role brings, and the joy of taking part in welcome services for other ministers and church workers.
It’s not like that for everyone. Many jobs begin with an induction that explains how the filing system works and how you apply for leave. That’s all important, of course, but it seems to me that whatever role you inhabit, God is in it with you, and it matters to acknowledge and celebrate God’s presence in life’s new beginnings. We remember that Jesus said, I am with you always, to the end of the age. So whether it’s a new job, a new role in church or another voluntary organisation, retirement, a new relationship, new parenthood – whatever it is, let’s borrow from the events of May 6th and set that new start in the context of prayer and the celebration of the amazing reality that God is with us.