Saturday, January 28, 2023

‘Thank God Almighty I’m free at last’

Thought for the week: Reverend David Jones

Olivia Coleman won best actress at the Oscars which was well deserved.

Her acceptance speech was filled with emotion and for as she began her acting career in ‘AA’ adverts its quite an amazing achievement.

She is, after all, a versatile and brilliant actress and her portrayal in the soon to be released Netflix series where she will portray the Queen will, without doubt, be another success for one of our most talented British actors.

The character she played in ‘The Favourite’ Queen Anne is often referred to as the ‘forgotten Queen’ and yet her reign was not without controversy.

In the year she died England and Scotland united as a single Kingdom. She is also an important character in the history of those of us who belong to the dissenting church tradition as during her reign persecution of those who were considered to be ‘nonconformists’ such as the Baptists, Congregationalists and others who would not conform to the liturgy of the Church of England increased.

On her instruction a Parliamentary Bill was designed to close all ministerial training colleges and to ban from public office those of such church tradition. The ‘Schism Bill’ was rushed through Parliament and passed on to her for Royal assent.

It was due to be signed on 1st August 1714. However, Queen Anne died suddenly in the early hours of that morning and the bill never became law.

In many parts of the world there are those who still continue to be persecuted for their beliefs. Christians especially run the risk of imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture and even death.

It’s quite a sobering fact that there have been more martyrs within the Christian faith in the 20th Century that all other previous centuries put together.

Trends show that in many countries there is intensifying persecution and yet despite many deaths and disappearances the witness of the church continues and even increases as the faithful hold fast to the assurance of the Bible that evil will never have the final word.

It was Dr Martyn Luther King who in a visionary speech before his death declared ‘Free at last, I’m free at last – thank God Almighty I’m free at last!’

The right and hope of all God’s children.

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