Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 2012

One cannot reasonably study the Protestant Reformation and other important events of the 16th century without paying homage to England’s lion-hearted Queen Elizabeth I. Through her influence, England become known as a Protestant country responsible for scouting the New World and laying the groundwork for a land of religious freedom. She ruled in a time when religious wars, internal intrigues, and hatred between European nations ran rampant, and she handled her realm with grace and aplomb. She later extended a hand to the suffering French Protestants but refused to show favoritism for much of her reign, proving herself something very unusual for that day and age: a tolerant monarch.

Queen Elizabeth was the perfect Anglican. She did not believe in Catholic ritual, but neither did she ascribe to Calvinist ideas that all church decoration and ceremony should be omitted. As one of the most influential leaders of the Protestant world, she headed a strong Reformation-minded bastion in a world where Catholicism held sway.

Elizabeth I's "Armada Portrait," painted in 1588

Such a monarch provided a refuge in the storm both for her own Protestant subjects and for those viewing her from abroad. She was strong-willed, clever, unshakable, and daring. Though women at that time were expected to be forever submissive, Elizabeth did not subscribe to such a concept. She was a proud individual who knew exactly who she was and what she could accomplish. I wondered what such a person might have to say about faith and life in general. I found some of Elizabeth’s quotes quite telling:

“I would rather go to any extreme than suffer anything that is unworthy of my reputation, or of that of my crown.”

“A clear and innocent conscience fears nothing.”

“There is one thing higher than Royalty: and that is religion, which causes us to leave the world, and seek God.”

“Where minds differ and opinions swerve there is scant a friend in that company.” (And people of the 16th century knew this all too well!)

Elizabeth I was definitely one of the most definitive Protestant personas of the era, and she shaped even what would become the modern world without having any awareness of the consequences of her New World expeditions . . .

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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