‘The Queen has died.’ Now we have all the time identified that sometime we’d hear these phrases, however that certainty has not robbed them of both their unhappiness or their solemnity. Within the sea of tributes now overwhelming us, how ought to we react?
Our first response ought to certainly be appreciation. We have to mirror with gratitude on all that the Queen achieved for the nation and the Commonwealth. The reign of Queen Elizabeth II was actually lengthy, but size of reign – like size of life – is not any measure of greatness. The Queen’s accomplishment was not merely to reign for a very long time, however to reign nicely.
It’s an achievement made even larger as a result of she dominated in troublesome occasions. She has been in comparison with each the primary Queen Elizabeth and to Queen Victoria but, not like them, it was not her lot to rule at a time of both nationwide glory or imperial splendour.
Our Queen Elizabeth got here to energy in a Britain nonetheless recovering from battle. Her reign witnessed the tip of the British Empire and the emergence of a brand new, confused Britain, more and more adrift from its conventional values. Throughout her reign fashions in tradition, artwork and manners got here and went; kings, emperors, presidents and regimes flourished solely to be swept away by time.
But if the winds of change blew strongly, the Queen appeared unaffected by them. No matter occurred to the nation – financial turmoil, terrorist atrocity or political uncertainty – the Queen was there and the nation discovered consolation in that. In an age of uncertainty and confusion she got here to embody what Britain stood for. For that solidity and stability in turbulent occasions we’re grateful.
It’s salutary to learn the phrases of the Queen’s coronation service and see all that, so way back, she promised to defend for the nation and the church. On the finish of that lengthy life, we will say with appreciation that she fulfilled her vows and did what she promised. She stored the religion. We’re likely referred to as to lesser issues, however might we maintain our guarantees in addition to she did hers.
Our second response needs to be acknowledgement. One thing value dwelling on is that the Queen’s achievements got here not from her genetics, her upbringing or her pressure of will however from one thing extra. She had a deep and genuine Christian religion, which she took critically and sought to stay out. It appears to me evident that the Queen recognised two issues. The primary was her personal frailty and weak spot. She had the present, so usually denied to the highly effective, of being humble and was clever sufficient to grasp that to reign nicely required greater than human expertise and power.
The second factor she recognised was that to be monarch meant that she wanted God to provide her power. Solely the silly would see her life as a story of never-ending privilege and overwhelming wealth. The truth is that, from the second of her premature accession to the throne, she served what was, in impact, a life sentence with out hope of remission. True, she served it out in a gilded cage, however she additionally served it beneath the more and more harsh highlight of a curious and merciless world.
Bodily, the Queen was a small girl, however the title Majesty was completely acceptable for her. She was a bit of girl with a really huge God. Within the first of the Beatitudes Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the dominion of heaven.’ This was a girl who recognised that the one solution to rule an earthly kingdom was to hunt a heavenly one. Our circumstances might bear little or no comparability with hers however the best way she lived out her religion ought to encourage us all.
Our third response needs to be that of assurance. With the Queen’s loss of life, a darkish shadow has fallen throughout our land and past. A landmark which we took with no consideration however which gave us all our bearings, has fallen. In her quiet manner, the Queen outlined what it’s to be British. Different nations might look to their flags or constitutions for his or her id; Britain appears to be like as a substitute to its monarchy.
These are unhappy days however, because the Queen herself would little question have wished, these of us who’re Christians can – ought to – raise our eyes upwards.
God is our refuge and power, an ever-present assist in hassle. Subsequently we won’t worry, although the earth give manner and the mountains fall into the center of the ocean, although its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)
Twice in that psalm comes the reassuring chorus, ‘The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.’ It was then, and it’s now.
Our world is shaken however our God stands agency. Queens and kings go away; the everlasting God doesn’t.