07 May 2023

More than a Coronation

My parents are old enough to remember the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2, but for the vast majority of the global population, we were all first timers of such a ceremony. Mercifully, the commentary helped decipher what on earth was going on in this 1000 year old ceremony reframed for a very different world than the one of Charles’s parents, and mine.

What surprised me in this broadcast (which at first I had little interest in watching), was the depth of meaning woven through it all and, what this said about faith, work and vocation. We were not simply witnessing the coronation of a King but an ordination and commissioning to a life of vocation.

'Vocation' is much more than the job or profession you do. It's all the activities, roles, people and contexts to which we are called, inspired and enabled for the service of others, and a common good. What distinguishes vocation over merely a job is the sense of calling to doing good work for a greater outcome than self. Religious or not, desiring a life that feels purposeful and significant is, I think, hard wired into all of us.

Breaking convention, Charles prayed aloud with deep vocational intent. He prayed “God of compassion and mercy whose Son was sent not to be served but to serve, give grace that I may find in thy service perfect freedom and in that freedom knowledge of thy truth. Grant that I may be a blessing to all thy children, of every faith and belief, that together we may discover the ways of gentleness and be led into the paths of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

This was a royal and priestly prayer to a vocational life of service to ALL people, in the manner of Jesus. And note, it was from that Christ-like posture of serving, that perfect freedom comes, and a revelation of what is truly true, tender and peaceable.

It’s quite a beautiful prayer. But neither such a prayer, nor such a commissioning is limited to kings and priests - this is the common prayer to which every person is invited to pray.

Past the pomp and ceremony, I think we just witnessed something profoundly common to us all - an invitation to humbly step into a whole life ordained with deep purpose and significance, oriented toward the flourishing of all people. A life of vocation.

Charles waited a very long time to be crowned and commissioned into this new vocational season. But when it comes to thinking and living vocationally, its never too early to start.... and it's never too late either.

Every day counts.

Hey thanks for reading this article. Could you help me out with a national research project I am running on attitudes to work life and the place, if any, of faith and faith communities. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Instructions in the link below. Thanks!