After the very sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Like me, you too may feel a mixture of emotions on the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: sadness; gratitude; surprise; uncertainty; feeling discombobulated; hopeful. I wonder what you are feeling today in your mind and in your heart?
I’m sure that you will join me in wanting to offer condolences to the Royal Family in their loss, and those members of the Queen’s staff who will have accompanied her so closely in recent years.
In watching, and listening to, some of the coverage in the media yesterday, my mind was taken back to the lovely platinum Jubilee celebrations of the early Summer. At that time, I was particularly struck by hearing some of the speeches made by the Queen at her accession which were very consciously modelled upon, and inspired by, words spoken by Elizabeth I many centuries before.
As we witness the end of the second Elizabethan age, we continue to live through very historic days, and one can imagine the time of the late Queen’s reign being a fascinating period of history to be studied by our successors for many generations to come.
A stand out characteristic for me have been reflections upon the Queen’s constancy and upon her service.
Constancy is very similar to the Christian virtue of stability, which is a value very much founded upon the monastic heritage of the Christian tradition. Our rootedness, our stability, is to be in Christ, and roots set in him will be strong and sure, keeping us firmly anchored in times of struggle and change.
The Queen’s constancy, marked by incredible service, was awe-inspiring, and the selflessness of her offering of all that she was to her vocation as God’s chosen governor, speaks of holiness as Christians would understand that term to mean.
Christ’s holiness is seen most clearly in his offering of himself to the Father, and we are called into that same life of holiness ourselves in lives of servant-hood and love as we enact the fundamental call to vocational service we find ourselves called into.
Whilst vocational language is often used in work such as healthcare, teaching, or religious vocations, we must never forget that being a parent, a friend, a carer, a sibling, a musician or sportsperson, to name just a few, are ways that vocational service can touch the lives of others, and be the way to holiness in everyday life.
And there was such a sense of permanence to the Queen’s reign: she was always there, in and around the ups and downs of personal and national life. In the long list of uncertainties we face today, with such high costs of living, fear of the effect of vastly inflated energy prices, and with a war continuing in Europe, how much we will miss the reassurance of such permanence in the person of our head of state.
But I hope that you are able to feel hopeful too, in the knowledge of our Christian stability that comes from our rootedness in Christ, and that nothing will overcome the love he has for us.
As I conclude, may I ask you to join me in praying for King Charles III, for the Queen Consort, his family and all who will advise him.
God save the King!
With the assurance of my prayers
What is happening at church to mark the Queen’s death?
Your church continues to be open in daylight hours, offering space to pray, to think and to rest in a dedicated space that can provide private opportunity to respond to the sad news in your own way.
On Saturday 10th September, a Requiem Eucharist will be offered for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at 5.30pm in the parish church (on the corner of Cranley Gardens and Park Road). Everyone is welcome to attend.
On Sunday 11th September, prayers will be offered for the soul of the late Queen, and for the Royal Family, as part of the Parish Eucharist at 10.30am, and the Tower Eucharist at 4pm. The National Anthem will also be sung as we continue to pray for our new King. Please do join us if you can. As always, you are all welcome.
Please don’t forget to let us know if you need anything from us. Times of national mourning can bring up difficult feelings in us all. We are here for you.