Can you bear a few more words about the Queen? Are you on overload already? I am, a bit, but hanging on….
I’m not a high church person, and I’m not even – really – a dyed in the wool royalist. But of course I watched today’s funeral partly because it’s a huge historic occasion, partly because I appreciated and even loved the Queen, and partly so that I could enjoy the military stuff (the daughter of a CSM, the sister of a Sergeant and a Petty Officer, and myself an ex-NCO) . But surprisingly it wasn’t the pomp and ceremony that got me – it was the church service. In spite of having not much time for blokes in flowing robes and pointy hats and chasubles and the like, even I have to admit that sometimes they manage to say something worth saying. This is a small snippet from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address:
In 1953 the Queen began her Coronation with silent prayer, just there at the High Altar. Her allegiance to God was given before any person gave allegiance to her. Her service to so many people in this nation, the Commonwealth and the world had its foundation in her following Christ – God himself – who said that he “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”.
And those words will have been heard by millions who never otherwise would have heard them! What an amazing miracle. And there was loads more… from the Psalms to the Gospels to Revelation. A friend reminded me of Isaiah 55: 10&11
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Think of that; His word will not return empty.
Watching it alone, there were tears of course at several moments – when I saw that the formal white garland on top of the coffin had been replaced by pink roses with rosemary for remembrance and myrtle as a symbol of her long marriage, at her son’s request. And the music she had chosen brought a few tears, not just the wonderful hymns like ‘The Day Thou Gavest Lord, Is Ended’ but also the Bible verses sung by the choir, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord’ John 11: 25–26 and ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ Job 19: 25–27
That she (and not some worthy old bloke from the Anglican Church) had chosen those Bible verses and those hymns made them all the more poignant. I think that for millions around the world, especially those who have been bereaved recently, the faith shown by Elizabeth II, even as she planned her own funeral, is a witness of the great and certain hope underpinning the lives of all Christians, everywhere.
And then came the walk up the Royal Mile to Windsor and that little black pony, the one she loved, waiting patiently. And then the corgis (yeah, ok, they looked a bit bored by the whole thing). It would take the hardest of hard hearts, the most republican of republicans not to be a little moved by the love shown over the last few days, to a tiny and humble woman, who knew her place in the world and accepted it uncomplainingly.
But what a day! A day when the Gospel is on the TV, on the Radio, even in the newspapers, all over the UK, and in many other parts of the world too.
Surely, surely, the most touching, heart-breaking moment of the whole long day came when the lone piper appeared above the coffin and played the lament ‘Sleep, dearie, sleep.” Such a personal, sweet, wonderful sentiment. ‘Sleep, dearie, sleep.”
For Charles the day is still not over. There’s a short break and then the family is back for the private internment.
I’ll tell you what, she lived a good life and was blessed with a good death, but she also had a stonking, exhausting and full-on three tiered funeral.
3 thoughts on “Just one more word…..”
Beautiful Luce. I became a deep royalist and lover of marching you’re right 💞💞
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Yes Luce, it was a beautiful day a real treasure of a sermon to all who would hear and testimony to the Queen who openly and steadfastly followed Jesus and served her people
Thank you once again
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Dunno what the King feels like tonight but I’m shattered.