Queen Elizabeth II

All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,

but the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:23-25

As a nation we have been privileged to have a queen who has brought stability in leadership and service throughout a long life. She has been a constant figure through the continual change that has taken place throughout her reign, and for many people has been an anchor and focus. In turn she made it clear, not only at her coronation, but also throughout her life that her foundation has been her Christian faith. Everyone has paid tribute to her service and faithfulness, demonstrated by her determination to receive the new Prime Minister just two days before she died. Reference has also been made to her humility and willingness to meet with people in ordinary life. It is tempting to think that the role of Head of State is glamorous and privileged – and no doubt it is in many ways. It is also a role of responsibility and duty, that needs to be carried out with honesty and integrity. It is widely recognised that Queen Elizabeth II did just that and stands out amongst other Heads of State. 

The quotation from Peter, also found in Isaiah, reminds us of our mortality and the short time we have on this earth. Even queens are mortal and our Queen was aware of her mortality and responsibility before God. When public figures die, when people close to us die, we are made more aware of the fact that life does come to an end. Some are fortunate and live as long as the Queen did. Others are less fortunate. We will all stand before God our Father and on that day we all stand as equals, redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one King in the Kingdom of Heaven, to whom we owe allegiance both now and for eternity.

As a church I know we will be praying for the Royal Family as they grieve for a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. We will also be praying for King Charles III as he takes on the mantle of Head of State, stepping into his mother’s shoes at a stage in life when most are thinking of relaxing and surrendering responsibility. Our prayer is that he will look to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to guide and sustain him as he fulfils the role of King. Our prayer echoes the words of Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;  the Lord make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.