London Day at Lambeth and Buckingham Palaces was the stuff from which fairy tales are made: the blur of purple worn by the bishops; the silks, satins, and feathers bedecking the ladies; the gentlemen in top hat and tails; the delicious luncheon served to over fifteen hundred people with precision, grace, and flair; flowers so beautiful you had to touch them to be sure they were real; the Queen’s guards dressed in their majestic costumes of black, gold, and red; two bands playing familiar music and then the grand entrance by the Queen and Prince Philip to “God Save the Queen.” I was Alice and I had fallen down the rabbit hatch into the Queen’s garden and I was struck by the great privilege I had been given to be a part of something so overwhelming – something so grand.
Excitement and grandeur aside, the beauty of the day came from people. Archbishop Williams’ and Prime Minister Brown’s stirring speeches reaffirming and recommitting themselves and us to the MDG’s; reminding all of us of the millions of people who will suffer and die if we do not keep the promises made by ourselves and our governments; the bishop from central Kenya who shared the poverty, starvation, illiteracy, and disease of his diocese and his fears for their future; the three young men from the Queen’s Boys Brigade who had served since they were very small and were now in their first years of college – one a Methodist who attended an evangelical church, one a Presbyterian, and one who no longer attended church at all – each proud of their place in this event; each searching for a new and better way for themselves, the world, and the church.
Events like this are always a canvas of contrast. With one brush the color of material wealth is painted and with another, poverty. One quick splash or drip and there is the question of food for the world or energy. The palette includes Christian values and morals; personal decisions of conscience; governmental influences. Our canvas is global. Our canvas is beautiful with all of its colors. Our canvas is God’s. Today I – we – were a part of making this canvas stronger and more beautiful. Thanks be to God.