Friday, November 11, 2016
We have been happily addicted to the Netfllix series The Crown which is about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, our monarch. I am not a monarchist and through the years I have teased my dear mother mercilessly about her fascination with and loyalty to Elizabeth. Mom was born in England and she is just a few months older than the queen. She was actually presented to Queen Elizabeth years ago in Bermuda. Mom was deathly ill but wouldn't have missed the opportunity if she'd undergone multiple amputations. She would have loved this series a few years ago and we might be able to figure it out for her even now.
The story line is surprisingly engaging, much of the dialogue is thoughtful, and there are "I didn't know that " scenes which satisfy my hunger for knowledge.
At Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 (aged 25) she was weighed down with regal garments including a five pound crown. The coronation took place in a church (Westminster Abbey), a bishop presided, and much of the language was religious.
I was quite taken by the scene of the anointing, a moment not filmed at the time for what was the first television broadcast of a coronation because it was considered too sacred. Elizabeth was anointed on her hands and breast and brow with oil made to a special recipe (11 secret herbs and spices?) and using particular utensils.
For all the pomp and circumstance I thought of the Christian traditions of anointing for the sick and at baptism. These are special moments for me as a pastor and I've often had a powerful sense of God's presence as I apply the oil in the sign of the cross. There are lots of scripture passages about anointing and the connection between royal and holy anointing is rather fluid (pun intended.)
We can dismiss these symbols as hocus pocus but I find them deeply meaningful and The Crown reminded me of the experiences I've had.
Anyone else watching the series? Have you ever been anointed in a religious ceremony? What do you think of it all?