Summary: A great Christian leader has gone to glory. Her Christmas message make her one of the great Evangelists of the 20th and 21st Century
Tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, our Servant Queen
The purpose of this talk is to draw together some of the Christian themes that have been coming out of reflections on her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II majestic life,
Two themes have emerged for me about our Late Queen
1) The Queen was 'one of us'
There are many pictures circulating on social media - the young girl, the ATS driver, the bride, the mother of bored young children and wayward adults, the diplomat, the racing-enthusiast, the great-grandmother, the grieving widow...
Despite her 'glorious position', we can relate to her humanity.
That picture of her dwarfed by the fireplace, holding out a bruised hand in welcome to Liz Truss our new Prime Minister, sums up something of her human frailty.
And this is important, as Spurgeon said, "I have not one gospel for her majesty and another for the beggar. No there is only one way of salvation, only one propitiation, only one gospel.”
Or, as C.S. Lewis commented after the coronation,
The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be his vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate.
As if He said, “In my inexorable love, I shall lay upon the dust that you are, glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.”
2) The Queen was an example to follow
whether it is her sense of duty,
or her self-sacrifice
or her humility,
On her Coronation on 2nd June 1953 she said this: “I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
She was a woman to admire and emulate, not least in her public witness to the Lord Jesus.
In particular her Christmas messages and I would like to share with you some excerpts from a number of them
From her 2000 Christmas speech, she said this
"The simple facts of Jesus’ life give us little clue as to the influence he was to have on the world. As a boy he learnt his father’s trade as a carpenter.
He then became a preacher, recruiting twelve supporters to help him.
But his ministry only lasted a few years and he himself never wrote anything down.
In his early thirties he was arrested, tortured and crucified with two criminals.
His death might have been the end of the story, but then came the resurrection and with it the foundation of the Christian faith.
Even in our very material age the impact of Christ’s life is all around us.
If you want to see an expression of Christian faith you have only to look at our awe-inspiring cathedrals and abbeys, listen to their music, or look at their stained glass windows, their books and their pictures.
But the true measure of Christ’s influence is not only in the lives of the saints but also in the good works quietly done by millions of men and women day in and day out throughout the centuries.
Many will have been inspired by Jesus’ simple but powerful teaching:
Love God and Love thy neighbour as thyself - in other words, treat others as you would like them to treat you. His great emphasis was to give spirituality a practical purpose. …..
To many of us our beliefs are of fundamental importance.
For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.
I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.
From her 2002 Christmas Speech
I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad.
Each day is a new beginning,
I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.
Like others of you who draw inspiration from your own faith, I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel. "
From her 2004 Christmas Speech
"For me, as a Christian, one of the most important of these teachings is contained in the parable of the Good Samaritan, when Jesus answers the question,
Who is my neighbour?
It is a timeless story of a victim of a mugging who was ignored by his own countrymen but helped by a foreigner, and a despised foreigner at that.
The implication drawn by Jesus is clear.