Thanksgiving service for coronation: 1902

Coronation Hall, Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton, built to celebrate the coronation of King George V

Thanksgiving Services for the Coronation
A Memorable Occasion

To-day's services at the above Church were: Holy Communion at 8 a.m., and the special service issued by command of the King at 10.30 a.m.

The various Volunteer and Cadet Companies, headed by the Masterton Municipal Brass Band, after parading the streets to the accompaniment of stirring patriotic music, marched to the Church, where they were received by the office-bearers and sidesmen, and shown into seats reserved for them on the south side of the aisle. Previous to their arrival, those seat-holders who had kindly given up their sittings for the occasion had been admitted by the north side porch, and given seats elsewhere.

The robed Choir, marching in procession into the choir stalls, led the singing of the National Anthem, with which the service commenced; and the large volume of voice, as all the immense congregation took up the well loved words, was most inspiring.

After the singing of the National Anthem, part of Psalm 122 was chanted. Then followed Hymn 166, "The Old Hundredth." The Vicar then read from "The Form and Order of Service" -- Let us pray for the good estate of our Sovereign Lord, King Edward, and the church and people committed to his charge" ; after which a shortened form of the beautiful Litany of the Church was sung to Tallis' setting. Then followed the ante-Communion office with special Collect, Epistle and Gospel. The other hymns sung during the service were No. 160, " Holy, Holy, Holy," and No. 300, " All Hail the Power of Jesu's Name."

The anthem was the celebrated masterpiece of Handel's, " Zadok the Priest," (the same setting as was sung at Westminster Abbey). The Choir rendered the difficult music excellently, and, quite apart from the sacredness of it, they are to be thanked for enabling Masterton to hear the actual anthem which was sung at His Majesty's Coronation, and at the Coronation of Geqrge IV. Miss Peterson's admirable accompaniment of this music upon the organ deserves special mention.

The Vicar preached from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 13, Verse 1. " Let every soul be subject unto the higher Powers, for there is no power but of God ; the powers that be are ordained of God." He asked if the real meaning of the National United Thanksgiving Services was fully understood? Why, to-day, throughout the length and breadth of the British Dominions does the Church unite in the self-same prayers and anthem, wheresoever she has been planted—echoing from one Continent to another, as the sun runs his course, the solemn words of the Archbishop of Canterbury which he offers to God in the presence of the great on earth in Westminster Abbey ? Why is all this only taking place to-day, when we know that the royal sceptre never falls to the ground, when we turn at the death of one monarch instantly to do homage to another ? When, in the words of the French idiom we cry, the king is dead, long live the King ?"

I answer, it is because the Powers that be are ordained of God, and therefore tho' in the National sense, King Edward VII has been our supreme ruler since the moment our late loved Queen breathed her last, in the highest sense, (the Divine sense—the sense of God's ordaining) he is not King until he has been anointed and consecrated to his office.

It is a great primary truth of human society, that the civil authority, as such, is a Divine institution; whatever may be the details of error or of wrong in its existence, it is nevertheless, even at its worst, so vastly better than anarchy, that it is a main instrument and ordinance of God's will. It forbids any action of a revolutionary kind on the part of a Christian, and it lays more stress on Christian duties than rites. On the other hand it assumes that should a King command his subjects to do what is wrong in the sight of Heaven, then obedience to a higher Power than his must take precedence. To perfect this teaching of St. Paul's in a Christian nation would mean that a despot on the throne would be unknown; that tyrannic authority would become as inconceivable a thing as revolution ; and that this is the great desire and wish of the British Nation is seen by the enthusiastic loyalty, second to none in the whole world, which is shown by all the subjects of the Throne, which flies as its Ensign the universal symbol of Justice and Peace—the Union Jack !

And so I say that in setting ourselves as a nation to acclaim the responsibilities of a civil ruler's responsibilities, we are recognising that our King receives his power to rule from God. And what will be the result ? Surely it will be that the King's cause will be our cause to the end. Once a special champion was appointed to challenge the enemy of the King. This custom has long since passed away—and why ? Because we are all his champions to-day, and as our Maori brothers so well have put it, " Our hearts are true to our King, and his foes are our foes—now and always."


Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XXVI, Issue 7229, 9 August 1902, Page 3