In the centre of London there is a beautiful thirteenth century mosaic of theuniverse that is hand cut by Italian and British craftsmen. It has a central circle of onyx surrounded by four outer spheres of cut glass and stone held in a spiral that does not complete; and then a second layer of four spheres in incomplete spirals. If you stare at it for long enough, the open spirals have the effect of thirteenth century 3D as all outer spheres lift to revolve around the centre. It represents eternity; the centre of the universe where there is no hierarchy and all is connected. The mosaic is laid in one of the most sacred places in London– in front of the high altar at Westminster Abbey. A week today, during the coronation, the throne will be placed at its centre, facing east and the moment King Charles is anointed is when all spheres, will rise and revolve around him. The place of Christ, King of Peace.
Yes, sovereignty has been misused – any construction with power, no matter how well intended, can be. The last coronation was during our recovery fromWWII. It was full of hope. When I look around the world today, I see that we desperately need to renew our understanding of sovereignty in all leadership and rediscover both integrity and hope.
On a personal level, the coronation ritual affirms the sovereignty within each and every one of us: the part of ourselves that oversees every choice we make. As Charles Westley wrote in his hymn ‘Love Divine:’ when we reach heaven, ‘We (all) cast our crowns before thee.’
On a collective level, that eternal sphere holds the history of leadership to account, continually demanding full service, and universal ethics. Love Thy Neighbour. Gratitude for creation. Refuse lies and corruption. Adhere to thegreater good. Indeed, at the very moment Queen Elisabeth was anointed in 1953, she was reminded that she was ‘subject to the voice of the prophets.’ They work hand in hand. A crown of gold and crown of thorns. After being anointed and then receiving the crown, orb and sceptre, the first thing King Charles will do is enter the chapel of Edward the Confessor for his own Spiritual Direction. A crown humbly offered to God for all people.
Traditionally the week before the coronation is for Spiritual retreat. The corner has been turned and the west gate of Westminster Abbey is now ahead. The rite has begun. Collective energy can change everything. It’s a moment for us to consider what new commitments we make to align ourselves with the centre of that Cosmati mosaic and find the sovereignty within ourselves and in our culture to co-create an honest, brave, new, peaceful world