Can't help but say it every time I see Westminster. Hey look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!
In so doing it was further brought home the folly of Charles the First, who thought his positional authority would simply give him leadership. So he stormed into the Parliament hall (House of Commons) and demanded the heads of five members. Luckily for them, they had sailed down the river to safer environs. Charles threw down the speaker of the house, who then rose up and, citing the Magna Carta, told Charles he had no place there and needed to back down.
Confronted, the bully did back down. Ran off to Oxford and eventually was brought back to Westminster by Cromwell, tried in Westminster Hall and ultimately beheaded in 1649. As a result, since that day, the Queen or any other Sovereign ruler of the UK is not permitted to go any farther than the House of Lords. The followers spoke up and the leaders were changed. Good example of Followership on display. After the tour and our meeting with the Lord (who actually is part of a trend, he started in the House of Commons and was appointed a Lord later. The House of Lords is being systematically depleted in membership overtime to make room for more commoners as England grows and modernizers) we headed over for some touring of Westminster Abby.
No photos are allowed in Parliament or the Westminster Abby, so I leave it to you to Google some if you are interested. However, a couple high points for me (other than all the graves of the monarchs, you know what I think of royalty) were...
1) the grave of William Wilberforce, great advocate against the slave trade.
2) the grave of Charles Darwin, not the enemy of religion many think, but a great inquisitive mind.
3) the temporary grave of George Peabody, a native of Danvers, MA. Not a Harvard man in the pure sense, but a great philanthropist of the natural sciences, including the Peabody Museum and the Peabody hotel in Memphis is named for him. Interred briefly in Westminster before returned to Danvers via the HMS Monarch. He was also a Unitarian for those scoring at home.
4) the memorial to Florence Nightengale in which her husband is attempting to beat back the coming scourge of death from this young mother.
5) The grave of Elizabeth the First who is buried with her half-sister Mary the First. Divided by faith in this life, they have been put to rest together with this inscription on their tomb. "Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of the Resurrection."
6) and finally, on the west entrance, the statues of the martyrs of the 20th century. I must admit, I don't know all their stories, but I do now and so should you...
Below is a picture of Churchill and a quote of his which I think is important for leadership, especially authentic spiritual leadership. You must know who you are, but you also must hope that you can be used for great things, that you might glow with a light. Churchill was not a religious man per se. But I believe he understood that he was gifted for this time and place and he, warts and all, worm and all, was to glow with light.
This so contrasts with the theology of "being a worm" that I remember hearing in seminary from some of my colleagues. The "I am a worm quote" from Psalm 22 being twisted into a sort of pseudo humility and frankly, used as an excuse for mediocrity. Instead, we should claim that we are that, but that the light of God in us calls us to glow, and glow brightly!!! Thanks be to God that Churchill stood firm and cast his visionary leadership in the midst of darkness.