350 Million People Around the World Heard the Gospel on Live TV - Most Had No Idea It Was Coming
Well over a quarter of a billion people were estimated to be in the audience as the gospel was shared on live TV May 6. Whether or not they expected it is another thing entirely.
The occasion was the coronation of King Charles III, who took over as monarch after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September. Her funeral was watched by up to 4 billion people, according to National World.
A coronation is, of course, an event deeply steeped in history — and that history long predates the mostly secular U.K., where the decline of Christianity largely mirrors that of Europe and most of the West.
So imagine the shock of an estimated 350 million people when they tuned in to an event where the gospel was featured prominently.
The coronation was officiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The liturgy for the service was released beforehand, and it’s enough to make Richard Dawkins and the folks at the Freedom from Religion Foundation shudder.
Take, for instance, the archbishop’s greeting at the beginning of the ceremony: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.”
“Alleluia. Christ is risen,” the archbishop continued. The congregation’s response? “He is risen indeed. Alleluia.”
Then: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered to offer worship and praise to Almighty God; to celebrate the life of our nations; to pray for Charles, our King; to recognize and to give thanks for his life of service to this nation, to the realms, and to the Commonwealth.”
The king was presented with a Bible by a representative of the Church of Scotland, who said, “To keep you ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, receive this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords.
“Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.”
In his oath, Charles vowed to “maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel” and to preserve the “doctrine, worship, discipline, and government” of the Church of England.
The choir sang some of the most ancient songs of the church, including “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord, have mercy) and “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” (glory to God in the highest). Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read Colossians 1:9-17.
The eucharistic prayer succinctly summed up the message of the gospel:
“All glory be to thee, almighty God, our heavenly Father, who, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again.”
Again, not what most people were probably expecting.
Now, Charles might not be what you think of when you think of a devout religious leader, but he is the head of the Church of England — a role every monarch since 1558 has been tasked with. There have been a number of monarchs who didn’t seem to fit the bill as religious leaders, either.
But God often works through very imperfect people — Noah, David, Rahab, Peter and Paul, just to name a few. One shouldn’t put Charles in that league by any means, but drawing the eyes of 350 million people toward the gospel is no small feat.
One of the biggest TV events of the year was also one that spread God’s Word in a historic and memorable fashion.
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