The feast day of Charles I, on the anniversary of his execution, is 30 January. Chalcedon and Jess (who is much missed) have written posts about this topic (see here and here, among others). For my part, I note that the observance was removed from the Book of Common Prayer in 1859.

Although I now attend an Anglican Church and am considering confirmation within the Church of England at an appropriate juncture, I am not personally comfortable with feast of King Charles the Martyr. I am not sympathetic to the Puritans as far as their religious views are concerned. Although I know fairly little of the Caroline Divines, I do tend to agree with their sentiments. However, Charles I remains a figure with whom I struggle to sympathise.

There are reasons why I have, in previous posts and comments, referred to the Case of Impositions, the the Case of Proclamations, the Case of Prohibitions, and Entick v Carrington. I believe in limiting the power of the executive branch of government (and, for that matter, limiting the power of the legislature).

The Monarch should be a figure of national unity, but not endued with absolute power. Much of the heartache and suffering that mankind experiences comes from people trying to exercise absolute, invasive rule over others. We were created to enjoy liberty and to work collaboratively with one another.

While I agree with the need for government in this present age, because of the fallen condition of mankind, I do not think man is served, as a general rule, by governments that arrogate extreme power to themselves. In any event, it is often the case that, no matter how much power a government takes, it often fails to use that power in some area where it is actually needed. The story of human government often involves negligence, which can be just as harmful as intentional acts.

Whatever side of the controversy regarding Charles I you are on, my prayer is that this will be an occasion for you to reflect more deeply on what it means to be a Christian in these times, and to pray that those in power over us will rule us wisely, justly, and compassionately. I set out below prayers that you may find helpful from the Book of Common Prayer (first 1662 version (as amended); second 1789 American version).

MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for this Kingdom in general, so especially for the High Court of Parliament, under our most religious and gracious Queen at this time assembled: That thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour, and welfare of our Sovereign and her Dominions; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and Mediation of Jesus Christ our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the peoples of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled; That thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety honour and welfare of thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and Mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.