Let us proclaim history
Over half-term we went to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.
The Ceremony which is the official locking up of the Tower, has been going on for almost 700 years, and is said to be the oldest military ceremony in the world. Comprising Yeoman Warders and armed members of the Tower of London guard, it lasts for about 10 minutes and follows the same pattern.
Each night these words are spoken:
At one point the sentry says: “Halt, who comes there?”
The Chief Warder replies: “The Keys.”
“Whose keys?” the sentry asks.
“Queen Elizabeth’s Keys” is the reply.
The sentry continues: “Pass Queen Elizabeth’s Keys. All’s well.”
Later, I found myself reflecting.
We live in a time where, by and large, we like to surge ahead with technological, scientific, academic and cultural advances. I think, most people feel that new is better…that the old, is well, just history. That the new supersedes the old.
We even find that with church and faith. New ways of doing church. New theology. New perspectives. New models of church growth and the like.
But whilst new can be good, we must remember that old isn’t always bad.
Now, the Ceremony of the Keys…it’s old…it’s interesting…it’s an insight into history and traditions…but truth be told….it’s not something that has lasting relevance.
But I think there are some ‘old’ things which are not only good…but also vital. They’re not only windows into another era, they’re actually records of lasting truths that are just as relevant today as they ever were.
Take 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 for example…
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
These are old words…historic words…words that had been handed down to Paul…words which he was passing on…and words which Christians throughout the ages have also handed on.
But they’re not just historic words. They are also words about something historic. They are words which describe an historic person, historic events…words that describe an event which bisected history…transcends history.
And words about an event, that according to Paul a few verses later, actually changes history. And has the potential and power to go on changing histories today…your history…my history…your neighbour’s history.
So let us never grow tired of proclaiming this history:
That Christ died.
That Christ as buried.
And on the third day he rose again.