Some Reflections on the Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Yesterday I joined an estimated 7 billion people around the world who watched at least portions of the Queen’s funeral.

Watching the pomp and pageantry unfolding beneath the magnificent gothic arches of Westminster Abbey, a myriad of thoughts and feelings swirled around within me.

#1 No one, not even the Queen with all the resources of the Royal family, can cheat death.

The Bible says that we each have an appointment with death (Heb 9:27). It comes to the rich and poor alike. The famous and the unknown. And to young and the old alike. Death is no respecter of persons, or families.

#2 Speaking of family, while all of these events played out on a world wide stage, it’s easy to forget the feelings of the Queen’s family.

The children, grandchildren, and close friends of the Queen have experienced the common emotions known to us all. Every death leaves a home and family with a feeling of loss. Emptiness. And sorrow.

The hurt one feels in the passing of a loved one is not lessened by their place of prominence, position or power. All of humanity shares in a commonality of emotions in a time like this.

#3 No one, no leader, no ruler is indispensable.  

Not even the Queen.

King Charles III, her son, has now ascended to the throne. Upon the Queen’s death, he immediately became King of England.  The monarchy will continue on.  It was true  in Bible times.  God raised up great leaders, prophets and preachers, but they passed on the baton to others who would take their place. Joseph. Moses. Joshua. David. Elijah. And the apostles like Peter, Paul and John.

And so, it is with us.  One day our work will end. We will pass on. Others will take our place. The world will continue without us.

#4 Aside from the liturgy and rituals of the church of England, the message by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, focused on familiar themes you might hear at any funeral.

Service. Faith in Jesus Christ. And hope of eternal life. All of these speak to a life well lived. And a purpose that extends beyond this world.

“People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer,” Welby said.” But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”

“The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death,” Welby opined. “The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory.”

This is a good reminder for all preachers, pastors, parents, and church leaders. Whatever position we occupy in our little circle of influence, let us use it for good. For God. For His glory. And not our own personal aggrandizement.

Jesus came to serve. Not to be served (Matt. 20:28). And He calls upon his disciples to follow in His footsteps. To serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13)

#5 But taking a bit of a turn, there’s another thought worth our consideration.

It’s obvious that Americans have an incredible fascination with British Royalty. In fact, the New York Times wrote that the Queen was mourned “by those who were never her subjects.” It noted that in the season’s first NFL game it began with a moment of silence. Apple’s home page honored the queen with a photo from the early years of her reign. And, of course, every major American network preempted their normal programing for non-stop coverage of the Queen’s funeral.

This promoted some observers, including Jim Denison, to suggest Americans get to enjoy the monarchy with of all of its history, tradition, pomp and circumstance without any of the obligations. We pay no taxes to the UK. We don’t have to support the royal family. And we’re not under their authority.

Denison suggested that many folks are like that religiously. They want “all the thrills of religion and none of the cost.”

While 80% of Americans claim a belief in God, less than 50% belong to any church. And fewer than that attend on a regular basis. Many opine that they are “spiritual, but not religious.” We want the feelings that attend to spirituality and God, with none of the duties or obligations.

Ironically, the virtues described in the Queen’s life, those lauded by pundits and commentators, were at one time considered normal, but now are looked at as extraordinary. They are admired, but not often not taught, or expected, of a new generation. It’s easy to pay lip service to virtue, without really practicing it in our lives.

A quote by Queen Elizabeth speaks to taking seriously life’s sojourn. “We are all visitors to this time, to this place. We’re just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love, and then we return home”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Discipleship

2 responses to “Some Reflections on the Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

  1. Peggy Hobbs

    Ken, I appreciated your blog this morning. It’s so true and the Queen’s last statement sums it up. “We are all visitors to this time, to this place. We’re just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love, and then we return home” Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap: September 19-23 | ThePreachersWord

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