The Coronation Chair
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:19 (ESV)
In Westminster Abbey stands one of the world’s most valuable pieces of furniture – almost priceless – the Coronation Chair. It is estimated to be at least 700 years old. Despite a recent two-year conservation project, it is gnarled, scratched, and covered in graffiti, the victim of many attacks over the centuries. Yet it stands before the high altar of the Abbey in prime position – the very throne of the United Kingdom from which judgements and laws were issued in the past.
The Coronation Chair was made by order of King Edward I to enclose the famous Stone of Scone, which he brought from Scotland to the Abbey in 1296, where he placed it in the care of the Abbot of Westminster. The King had a magnificent oaken chair made to contain the Stone in 1300-1301, painted by Master Walter and decorated with patterns of birds, foliage, and animals on a gilt ground. The figure of a king, either Edward the Confessor or Edward I, his feet resting on a lion, was painted on the back. The four gilt lions…were made in 1727 to replace the originals, which were themselves not added to the Chair until the early 16th century. The Stone was originally totally enclosed under the seat but over the centuries the wooden decoration had been torn away from the front. 1
To view the Coronation Chair, one must pay an entrance fee. There is another throne which is totally accessible, the fee to approach it has already been paid. The price beyond the reach of any human being – the blood of Jesus, the Son of God. He sits at the right hand of this remarkable and wonderful throne as described in Hebrews 12:2. This throne is approachable twenty four hours a day, every day. It is described as a ‘throne of grace’: ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Hebrews 4:16).
It is good that we cherish our historical artefacts, but do we cherish the ‘throne of grace’? Our great God is waiting for us to come before Him to seek His mercy and grace. The psalmist tells us that righteousness and justice flow from this wonderful throne (Psalm 89:14).
In past times people would approach the Coronation Chair with great trepidation seeking mercy. However, we can approach God’s throne of grace and mercy with confidence and thankfulness – anytime and every time.
Wonderful Father in heaven thank you for your constancy with us – you never fail us. You are always ready to hear us and to show love toward us. Amen
Study by Irene Wilson
About the writer:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford congregation of Grace Communion International, and also serves on the Pastoral Council.
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