As we mourn, remember, give thanks for, and celebrate the 96 years of Queen Elizabeth II, and pray for King Charles III, The Royal Family and all who grieve and mourn today, I’m guided to do two things: ‘Kneel & Step-up’.
We kneel in humility before God, who lifts our eyes to see a bigger picture than the one played out before us in Westminster Abbey. The Ship Poem, attributed to Henry Van Dyke or Victor Hugo, points to a broader, higher heavenly perspective:
“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone.’
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘There! She’s gone,’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘Look! She comes!”
My weekend experience with the late Queen at Balmoral was inspiring. My presence as chaplain made very little difference, but The Queen’s grace, humility, keen humour and generosity truly encouraged me! It was a wonderful weekend, which deepened my respect for royalty and heightened my praise for King Jesus who makes Almighty God personal and approachable.
We kneel in fond remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II and in adoration of God Almighty who comes so personally to us in Jesus Christ, and Whom The Queen adored and faithfully served. Kneeling, we find ourselves, like King Charles, at his coronation to come, invited to rise and step-up into a royal role of service. As St Paul says ‘We are joint heirs with Christ’ with a royal calling!
“So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” (Romans 8:12-17 / MSG)
Wow, what an awesome story we share in, what great esteem is ours through faith in Jesus Christ, and what a calling is ours. Will you join me in kneeling and stepping up into a life of devotion and service, spurred on and inspired by Her Majesty and the many others (gone ahead of us) who line
the trackside of life, keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, the pioneer & perfector of our faith (Cf. Hebrews 12:1-3).
Beloved Monarch, may you rest in peace and rise in glory!