A weight (wait) of expectations

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring
of hope, it was the winter of despair.” (Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two
That famous quote came to mind as I was reflecting upon the times in
which we are living. With a coronation having just taken place, we are now
living in the Carolean era – during the reign of King Charles. Or for those
of us in the Church of Scotland, we might say we are living in the times of
Presbytery Mission Planning! In these current times, where do you find
yourself – in the best of times, or the worst of times? And what are our
expectations in the midst of those times? Are we hopeful or are we in the
winter of despair.
Expectations can be confusing. We can apply them to ourselves (I will write
my magazine article two weeks before the copy date). Or they can be
imposed on us by others (the Magazine Editor will only print materials
submitted by the due date!) As I listened to what Julie said at our Service
on 07/05/23 about the weight of the crown( 5 bags of sugar or 10lbs)
placed upon King Charles it made me think more about expectations. The
new King had waited a long time – a lifetime effectively to bear the weight
of that crown on his head. As that weight settled upon him, it bore many
expectations – his own, those of his family and friends, those of his
subjects and members of the Commonwealth, and those of his opponents.
What a weight.
When I first met the King he was only a Prince, and my impression of
him was that he was a man just like me. I found him to be warm,
humorous, trying to do his best. And yet he is unlike me – he lives in a
Royal household, I live in a Manse. However from our conversations I
know that he has in his own life known the best of times and the worst
of times. Just like you and me, I suppose. But my overwhelming sense
was that he was trying to do the best, to be the best version of himself,
for himself, and for others. I am reminded that in Colossians 3:20 we
read, “Whatever you are doing put your whole heart into it.” Isn’t that
what we are all called to do – to offer the best of ourselves in the
service of others. In that way we glorify God, the one who calls us into
his royal household as his beloved children.