Sunday, June 25, 2017

🎄 Behold Your King Cometh

December 22, 2016 by  
Filed under 2016 Christmas, Monthly Articles

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Behold Your King Cometh
by Ken Bridge

Shadows like bolts of unfurling black velvet lapped at the flickering candles as the monks intoned their hymn. As they reached its climax, a sudden gust of wet wind, the grinding of wooden hinges against stone walls, and the clanking of chain mail announced the visitors. Striding into the chapel, surrounded by armed retainers, damp red hair framing his strong square jaw, alert grey eyes reflecting the candlelight, Henry Plantagenet laughed as the monks recited, “Ecce advenit dominator Dominus, et regnum in manu ejus!” Behold the Lord the ruler cometh, and the Kingdom in his hand.

With that propitious coincidence, Henry II, the first Angevin King, arrived from France during the Feast of the Three Kings on Jan 6, 1153 to win back the throne from the usurper Stephen and end the period of anarchy and civil war known as “when Christ and His  Saints slept.” In fact, Stephen still reigned, but agreed to a co regency within the year, and Henry was crowned King of England in December 1154, following Stephen’s death.

This vignette of English history raises another question. When did the true King arrive?

There are no clear markers nor recorded events similar to Paul’s crossing the Hellespont to bring the Gospel to Europe in obedience to his dream of the Macedonian call. Although a common and persistent medieval myth brought Joseph of Arimathea to the shores of Great Britain with the Holy Grail, the chalice from which Jesus shared the wine of communion on the night He was betrayed, (and according to one strain of the Holy Grail stories, into which His blood from the cross was captured), these legends date from no earlier than the twelfth century.

All that can be known of early Christianity is that Christians dwelt in Roman Britain from the time of Constantine. A word square dated from the second century found in Manchester might have been an encoded Pater Noster (Our Father) or it might have had other non-Christian  meanings. The early Christian Tertullian writing around 200AD includes “the haunts of the Britons” as an area subjugated to Christ .

Long before Henry II, even before William of Normandy, or Alfred the Great, or Canute, the King of Kings had arrived on British shores and from Lindisfarne to the Archbishop of Canterbury, England’s history, and that of the world in which England would play such an earth shaping role, would be forever transformed under the reign of the everlasting King.

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