Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they knew how to predict the weather, but they did not know how to “interpret the signs of the times.” Many of these signs are given to us through the plain unfolding of events if we pay attention to them, but some of these signs are prophetic in nature. We live in a chaotic time, and so in the leader letter, I want to take a prophetic look at signs of our times.
So much is in a name. The name of Jesus, literally means salvation, so even his enemies, to refer to Him had to declare that He was salvation. It is the New Testament version of the name Joshua, the man who led the physical conquest of the promised land. This second Joshua was to lead the spiritual conquest of the promised land. Likewise in contemporary history, sometimes names give us prophetic clues to the unfolding of history.
In the more than one thousand year history of the British monarchy there have only been two prior men to rule with the name Charles. Charles I, ruled against the wishes of his subjects to such an extent that it led to his beheading in 1649, and the only significant gap in the British monarchy in its entire history, when it was ruled by a small group of radical Christians. The failure of this Christian government led to the return of his son Charles II, who likewise governed against the overall good of the nation, which ultimately led to Glorious Revolution, one of the foundational moments of modern freedom.
Charles III, though holding a vastly reduced role compared to these predecessors, has shown his inclinations to be similar, aligning with the global elites, rather than the common people of Britain, and dishonoring himself with his public affair while he was still married. His politics will likely lead him to try and insert himself into politics in ways that further dishonor him and the throne.
On the other hand, it seems to be no accident that Queen Elizabeth lived just long enough to install another Elizabeth, Liz Truss as Prime Minister of England. The Queen was the third great female monarch of England, each ruling for the second half of their century Elizabeth I (1558-1603)was the founder of the modern nation, steering it through very challenging times to become a great power. Queen Victoria (1837-1901) presided over the largest Empire the world had ever seen, but also over a surge in moral life worldwide and the spread of Christian and democratic values. Queen Elizabeth II presided over the peaceful transition from empire to commonwealth and was the steady spirit of the nation through the tumultuous century.
Elizabeth Truss comes to power just as a very bleak winter, without Russian Natural Gas, is facing the United Kingdom, and also comes after a series conservative Prime Ministers have fallen from power, with each one being more conservative than the one before. This is reminiscent of the situation which brought Winston Churchill to power, the looming storm of war, the repeated failure of the conservative party to produce a truly conservative leader to represent the interests of the people. Truss will be tested severely by the times, but I believe she will show that she is made of more than her predecessors. First there was an Iron Lady, but now we will have a Steel Truss.
For the Royal Family itself, we see in the Kate Middleton, the same virtues which made Queen Elizabeth II a beloved and trusted figure worldwide, for three quarters of a century: gracefulness, devotion to duty, care for the common person, and a quiet private faith. As the foibles of the royal family continue to damage their brand, we can expect Princess Catherine to come to the fore, as a voice of stability and comfort needed for millions in the UK during difficult times.
In the United States, we do not fully appreciate the role of the British in history. Everything that we are, they were first. Freedom did not come from America, it came from Britain. “The Nation with a Soul of a church” as Chesterton called us, got our religion from England as well. We didn’t win the War of Independence simply because of American patriots, but partly because of the battles already fought in England for freedom. Our idea of a Bill of Rights came from them. We think we freed the slaves, but slavery was ended first by Britain, and the Northern victory in the civil war only possible because of British anti-slavery attitudes. We think we won the first and second World Wars, but they were fought first in desperate struggle by Britain. We are fools if we look across the ocean at their troubles as distant, because they are only a foreshadow of our own trials. We must join them in prayer during these times.
The last Catherine to reign as Queen Consort was Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, a mentor of the first Queen Elizabeth. Despite her colorful life she left a lasting mark on the Kingdom publishing books about our need for God as sinners, and writing this prayer, which has been prayed for centuries around the world, a prayer we can pray for the leaders of the UK during this time.
O Lord our heavenly Father,
high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes,
who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth;
most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour
to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth;
and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit,
that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way:
endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts;
grant her in health and wealth long to live;
strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies;
and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting joy and felicity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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