The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

On the 6th February 2022 Her Majesty began her Platinum Jubilee – the longest reign of a British monarch – and the sentiments were strongly ‘long may she reign o’er us’. It is a recognition of the strength of that sentiment that following the news of the 8th September 2022 of her death, our nation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and people around the world mourn with the repeating sentiment that this is feels the same as losing a member of the family. Things are irrevocably changing! Her Majesty The Queen has been a significant and stable part of the modern world. 

We pray particularly for His Majesty The King and all members of the Royal Family in their time of grief.

We live today in a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and the Bible makes it clear that authority is part of God’s world and authority is to be about good order, peace, and justice. The Bible points to specific tasks for those with authority – often described as enacting righteousness and justice particularly for the poor and needy – and it also calls those with authority to service – to doing what is best for those under your authority. The Bible also speaks to those under authority and calls them to respect it and pray for those with it. Each of us is a mixture of having authority and being under authority.

In 1947 on her 21st birthday before she became Queen, Princess Elizabeth said to the nation, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service … But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.”

After the fall of numerous royal houses at the beginning of last century, through all the changes in society these past 70 years, against all the discussion of privilege and the rise of and increasing fragmentation of the ‘general public’, no one denies Her Majesty’s work ethic, sense of duty, and, more than that, her desire to serve – and the service she has undertaken – in the role in which she has found herself as a follower of Jesus Christ.

At Christmas in 2012, Her Majesty said: “This is the time of year when we remember that God sent His only Son ‘to serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.” 

In this time of mourning, let us remember the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marked by service in the name of the King of Kings who sacrificed himself for all. May our lives always be marked by service to one another. And may the crucified and risen Lord of Lords whom Her Majesty served be gracious and merciful to us all.