I have a series of binders in which I keep my sermon and Bible study preparation research and other notes connected to specific scripture passages. In the section for the Gospel lesson, Matthew 22. 15-22, we are using for today, there is my handwritten original of the following. It was obviously written some time ago, probably during one of those times when I was having a conflict between my call and ordination as a priest, and my role as an officer and chaplain in the Canadian Forces. I have looked at it quite often, the same lesson appears in Mark and in Luke,so it comes up yearly. I also think about it when I am challenged about living out my life as a disciple of Christ in today’s world.
I have taken the Queen’s shilling,
And made my allegiance to the Queen.
I hold the Queen’s commission.
I carry the Queen’s coin in my pocket
with her image on it.
I am proud to be a Canadian
And a loyal subject of our Queen.
And I will honour her with what is her right.
But I am made in the image of God.
I bear his mark in my creation,
And the mark of his Son in my Baptism.
I regularly wear the symbol of my faith
in Jesus Christ around my neck.
I have answered the call of God, and
Hold his commission as a priest in his Church.
I render unto the Queen what is the Queen’s,
And unto God what is God’s,
And I live knowing that:
My commission with God is of a higher order
than my commission from the Queen.
( explanatory note – Taking the Queen’s (King’s ) shilling is an old reference to accepting the recruitment pay andthen being fully committed to the army or navy. During the Napoleonic wars, press gangs and recruiters used to trick men into accepting the King’s shilling by various means, one being giving them a pot of beer with the shilling in it. Having drunk the beer, they then discovered that they had been paid and were then irrevocably in the army or navy. This is the origin of the glass-bottomed beer mug, check to see if there is a shilling in the pot before drinking the beer.)