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Justin Welby coronation.jpg
World News

'The weight of the task given you today is only bearable by the Spirit of God': Justin Welby's sermon at coronation service

by Marcus Jones

The act of service was the theme given through Justin Welby's sermon at the coronation of King Charles III.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was the one to crown the new monarch at the service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday but was also on preaching duty.

Addressing the responsibility taken on by the King and Queen Consort, he said: "The weight of the task given you today, Your Majesties, is only bearable by the Spirit of God, who gives us the strength to give our lives to others.

"With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the King is given freely what no ruler can ever attain through will, or politics, or war, or tyranny: the Holy Spirit draws us to love in action.

"This is promised by Jesus who put aside all privilege, because, as the first reading tells us, God will give all things for our sake, even His life."

Speaking about the blueprint of a life of service, Welby reflected on the life of Jesus.

"The King of Kings, Jesus Christ, was anointed not to be served, but to serve," he said: "He creates the unchangeable law that with the privilege of power comes the duty to serve. 

"Service is love in action. We see active love in our care for the most vulnerable, the way we nurture and encourage the young, in the conservation of the natural world. We have seen those priorities in the life of duty lived by our King."

Concluding, the archbishop encouraged each of us to live a life of service and to find joy in the process.

"Each of us is called by God to serve. Whatever that looks like in our own lives, each of us can choose God’s way today.

"We can say to the King of Kings, God Himself, as does the King here today, ‘give grace that in thy service I may find perfect freedom’.

"In that prayer there is promise beyond measure, joy beyond dreams, hope that endures. By that prayer, for every King, every ruler, and, yes, for all of us, we are opened to the transforming love of God."

Speaking prior to the service, Justin Welby told the BBC how he had prepared for the day.

"Lots of prayer and lots of practice.

"I trust in the God who calls each one of us. Who called me, who called the King and Queen. That is this beautiful Christian service God will touch us and lead us."

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