Today I had the pleasure of going to Holy Communion at my home Parish of All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton for the Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Charles Stuart, King of England and Scotland (and Ireland. And claimed to France), Martyr. However, the me of 15 years ago would have been shocked to have seen the me of today do that. Let me explain.
When I was 16 I joined a group called the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta. I attended from 1996 until 2000. (If anyone from TUXIS is reading this I just have away who I am). TUXIS is a Christian Youth Parliament which, when I was there, was committed to preparing youth for service as Christians in a modern Parliamentary Democracy.
One of the more important things I learned about there are the modern traditions of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth that are in reaction to the events surrounding the conflict between Charles I of England (etc.) and Parliament. A conflict which would lead to a bloody Civil War. To those of us in TUXIS Charles was a bit of a bad guy who attempted to usurp the power of Parliament that it had gained since the Magna Carta in the 13th Century. And, although I am firmly agains the death penalty, I thought that Charles was a tyrant who got what he deserved.
Since leaving TUXIS I have grown up a bit and learned more of the complexity. Was Charles guilty of some less than stellar conduct? Absolutely. However, the final reasoning that Charles found his head on a block was because he refused to compromise on several key issues to the English Church and State. In the end, Anglicanism likely survived because Charles refused to compromise. For his actions Charles was executed by the spiritual ancestors of what we would now call Evangelical Protestantism here in North America. Throughout England those loyal Anglicans were persecuted in their own country by the new government under Oliver Cromwell.
When his son, Charles II, returned in 1660 the Anglican Faith had endured and prevailed. For that we can be truly thankful. Amen.