With my casual remark about the Abdication Speech, I didn’t realise that the anniversary was indeed last Friday and that the BBC is giving it quite a bit of attention during this coming week. Its fascination for me is that this is one of those rare moments when the words spoken of themselves created the event. Few expect the speeches of today’s politicians to have that power – but this speech did. And to turn the focus onto faith and ministry for a moment, I suppose that those of us who lead worship or who give pastoral care do find ourselves hoping that the words which we speak – and the way we speak them and the way they are heard – will have spirit-filled and life-changing power in the hearts of people with whom we share our faith and our lives.
Brian Walden tried to give ‘today’s picture’ of the Abdication on Radio 4 this morning. The King, product of a relatively loveless childhood, in thrall to Mrs Simpson .. behaving in a way like an addict. A clash between the Victorian world of Baldwin and the establishment and a situation which they had no framework for addressing. The political naivety of the King who thought that he could marry Mrs Simpson – his political naivety in visiting Germany so soon after the Abdication – his maybe lingering feeling that somehow Germany might one day restore him to the throne which he had given up. Walden’s view in the end was broadly sympathetic – people acted with dignity as best they could in a situation which ultimately could not be resolved.