Sermon delivered October 15, 2017
at First Congregational Church in Blue Hill (UCC)
Early this week, Steve Pocock stopped by my office with a bottle of fine port. I’m not sure how he knew, whether there was a stray comment over dinner, or if it was pure luck, but port is one of my vices. In fact, I’d absolutely say yes to service as a Yeoman in exchange for the promised glass of port. Sadly, I am not qualified for that task.
The Yeomen of the Guard were created by the British monarch King Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth Field during the War of the Roses. Today, while they are still understood as bodyguards of the monarch, the role is purely ceremonial. The sixty yeoman are appointed, each retired after distinguished service in the British military. Their uniforms are similar to those of a more familiar group of Yeomen, the Beefeaters.
The payment in port happens as part of the State Opening of Parliament. This day-long event is, on one level, completely mundane. It is the functioning of government in a constitutional monarchy, where the Queen delivers a speech, called the Queen’s Speech, or King’s when there is a male on the throne, a rarity in the last two centuries, that outlines the ruling party’s legislative agenda for the coming session. Continue reading →