On Friday we attended my middle brother's passing out as an Army Officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It was an excellent day: starting with Chapel, then the Sovereign's Parade, and in the evening there was the commissioning ball where, on the stroke of midnight, the newest batch of officers in the British Army have covering ripped off their shoulder's to reveal their regimental insignia.
As I said, it was an excellent day and also a moving one. In particular, parts of the Commissioning Service were very moving: I was particularly struck by the second verse of I vow to thee my country and also by the vows the soon-to-be-officers take - which reminded me of the vows of ordination - in which they repeatedly respond to the questions they are asked with the words: "With the help of God I will serve to lead."
The only downside to the day were the things that it meant that I missed back at home: First, I had intended to renew my own vows of ordination on Maundy Thursday only to find out three weeks ago that the service had this year been moved to the Saturday before Holy Week; and second, it meant that I missed Ayr's victory in the Scottish Cup Final. Still, God willing, there will be other opportunities to do both of these things, whereas Friday was something of a one-off.
The theme of serving to lead was very much present throughout the day and so I leave you with the Collect of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst:
Almighty God, whose Son, the Lord of all life, came not to be served but to serve; help us to be masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others and teach us to serve to lead; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.