This splendid memorial to Celto-Saxon history was founded, according to tradition, by King Sebert of the East Saxons. Westminster Abbey Church -- or, to give it its legal title, the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in Westminster -- is undoubtedly a focus of Christian worship in the English-speaking world. It is in many respects unique, being neither an abbey nor a cathedral. Westminster Abbey, again, is not subject either to the Archbishop of Canterbury as head of the Established Church or to the Bishop of London in whose see it stands. Yet all the English sovereigns, from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II have received their coronations in it (excepting, of course, Edward V and Edward VIII, who was never crowned). Within its hallowed fabric lie the remains of most of Britain's illustrious men and women. Here, too, is the grave of the Unknown Warrior, who, in the words of his gravestone, was 'brought from France to lie among the most illustrious of the land' and was buried 'in the presence of His Majesty King George V, his Ministers of State, the Chiefs of his Forces and a vast concourse of the Nation....They buried him among the kings because he had done good toward God and toward his HOUSE.
'For the identity of the 'HOUSE' which the Unknown had served so gallantly the visitor has merely to raise his eyes to the beautiful West Window which lights the memorable words on the Warrior's grave. This massive stained-glass masterpiece, which was erected in 1735, contains four rows of panels. The first three rows are composed of full-length figures, the fourth being occupied by the Royal arms of Britain. To show the significance of this window, its rows of figures are detailed here reading from left to right, the central figure in each being printed in parenthesis: (first row): Abraham, 'Isaac,' Jacob; (second row): Reuben, Simeon, Levi, 'Judah,' Zebulon, Issachar, Dan; (third row): Gad, Asher, Naphtali, 'Joseph,' Benjamin, Moses, Aaron; (fourth row): 'The Royal arms of Britain' -- the Lion and Unicorn, emblem of the united HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
'In Westminster Abbey stands the CORONATION CHAIR, beneath the seat of which lies THE STONE OF DESTINY, the stone which, according to tradition, Jacob took for a pillow (Genesis 28, 18). And in the beautiful Henry VII Chapel the Knights of the Bath are installed with a ceremony which dates back to the days of KING ARTHUR. Every part of this building is, indeed, so pregnant with meaning that it would be impossible in a short paragraph merely to catalogue its history and structure. Words, again, are altogether inadequate to convey the sense of awe with which it strikes its visitors. Those who have experienced its atmosphere of peace and grandeur will not find it difficult to believe that Westminster Abbey could, as its name implies, be truly God's House in the West -- modern equivalent of the splendid Temple of Solomon -- God's House in the East.'
-- Wake Up! November, 1979.
Hope of Israel
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.