Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 18 December 2022
As a child, did you used to tell people your address in this ascending format:
33 Queenswood Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23, Surrey, England, Great Britain, Europe, Earth, The Solar System, The Milky Way, The Universe? I did. I forgot about the childhood practice for years until I started taking Morning Prayer at Anglican churches. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer (of Blessèd Memory 😇 ) and contemporary prayer books have so-called State Prayers, where one prays for The Sovereign. It might be sung, Leisa and I can still intone “O Lord, save the Queen/And mercifully hear us when we call upon Thee.” In Australia, good republican that I am, I substituted The Governor-General (doesn’t scan if you try to chant it) and, reversing my youthful habit, added titles in descending order (not in the rubrics, don’t try this at St James, strictly KCIII only.) So, GG, PM, Leader of the Opposition, Premier of Queensland, Mayor of Moreton Rivers. I don’t remember why I didn’t include the local MP, Peter Dutton. An oversight, I’m sure.
Which brings me up to this week, when I had the privilege of opening Townsville City Council’s monthly meeting in prayer. I’m rostered for the pleasant duty a couple of times a year. They like to get it over with so that they can get on to the real business of arguing over building height on The Strand, so I limit the named invokees of God’s blessing to Mayor Jenny and CEO Dr Prins Ralston. I lump Councillors in together, not all 10 Divisions. And all public servants together, not department by department. Oh, and tag on our neighbours, Hinchinbrook, Burdekin and Charters Towers. That’s the lot, takes much less time than Anglican State Prayers.
We never expected that we would be about to become pukka Townsville residents. What does the Bible have to say about it all?
Here, from Jeremiah 29: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”