The Royal Hospital Chelsea is an appropriate place to worship on Easter Sunday. The fresco in the apse is Sebastiano Ricci’s The Resurrection.
The music at The Royal Hospital is of a high standard. On Sunday we heard The Gloria from Zoltán Kodály’s Missa Brevis, Hail Gladdening Light by Charles Wood, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and at the end, Charles-Marie Widor’s Toccata in F. The church was full because it was Easter Sunday and also The Commando Veterans Association came in strength.
Before we stood to attention to sing the National Anthem, the padre read the Collect:
O God, who by the overshadowing of an oak didst preserve our Royal Founder from the hand of his enemies and so lead him to an earthly throne, grant thy heavenly protection, we beseech thee, to thy servants in this Royal Hospital, that continuing in thy love, they may give thee true and loyal service, and so enduring to the end enter at the last enter into thine eternal kingdom in glory, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Sir Jacob Astley’s prayer before the Battle of Edgehill, 1642, seems as appropriate today as it was 350 years ago:
O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.