In The Interregnum October 2022
Whilst St Andrew's Church is in interregnum, this page will see a variety of authors from St Andrew's Church and the Diocese
This month we hear from the Rev Suzie Ellis, member of the ministry team at St Andrew's
REMEMBERING OUR QUEEN - AND LOOKING FORWARDS
In September the nation was suddenly brought to a standstill by the news that Elizabeth, our Queen, had died after 70 years on the throne. Aged 96, we knew that this day must come - and probably sooner, rather than later. Yet the news still left many feeling stunned and disorientated. It marked for us the sudden ending of a complete era in our history ... a dramatic moment of change. For most people in our nation, and throughout the whole world, the reign of Queen Elizabeth has been the only one we’ve ever really known; while her presence amongst us, in all the rapid changes and threatening circumstances of recent years, had always provided a vital sense of stability ... and even hope. She has been a steady vision for us of what it means to be British ... of what it means to live well in a world of diverse cultures and peoples. So the sense of loss we’ve experienced was, and is, immense and very real
In that famous radio broadcast she made at the age of 21, she pledged her whole life “whether it be short or whether it be long” to faithfully serve her country, its people, and all the lands where she would be head of state. It was this commitment that guided the whole of her life: a promise that she fulfilled, whatever the cost, right up to the day of her death. Her sense of duty was wholehearted. She embodied all that was demanded of her, graciously entertaining heads of state and foreign dignitaries, travelling around the globe on high profile visits abroad; yet equally at home talking to ordinary people as she tirelessly visited charities, schools, hospitals and work places, here and all across the world. But in her eyes there were no ‘ordinary’ people: for she embraced us all with her warmth and radiant smile, taking a genuine interest in everyone she met ... each individual honoured as unique and special. Amongst both the celebrations and tragedies of our world she was always an unwavering beacon of light amongst us. Here was someone on whom we felt we could rely
But, as she so often said, it was God on whom she herself relied. She made no secret of her strong Christian faith, and as the years passed she’s spoken ever more powerfully of God as the anchor and bedrock of her life. 10 years ago in her Christmas broadcast to the nation she reminded us that “God sent his Son to serve not to be served and ... so restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ”; and two years later she described Jesus as “a role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, He stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing”
And she didn’t just say these things, she lived them! It was this faith and trust in God and in Jesus Christ that enabled, inspired and guided her always; so that both her lifelong commitment to God and her solemn vow to serve her nation were the two sides of a single vision for the whole of her life. And so in the midst of all the changes and challenges she faced in her life (and there were many) she drew strength from that deep relationship with God ... and he never failed her, just as he will never fail any of us who also lean upon him
But, as we still grapple to make sense of her passing, we see that her faith means more than that. Because God was at the very heart of her life, the things that we so admired in her we now see are reflections of his nature as they were lived out in her. That sense of stability and hope that she inspired in us were born out of God’s unfailing love, care and commitment towards each one of us. The strength of her commitment to serve others was born out of her gratitude for Jesus Christ’s faithful presence in her life and his unbreakable commitment to seek and bless all people. And the beacon of light she was to the nation, was first and foremost the unchanging light of God that always overcomes the darkness!
So, even as we struggle with all those different issues in our lives, even as we mourn this death and all the other losses we’ve suffered, this can also be a time for each one of us to realise that the strength, the security, the inspiration, and the hope that we need and long for, is only truly found in the God who loves us no matter who or what we are. It is he who walked faithfully alongside the young Elizabeth, guiding her into all she became as our much-loved Queen. So perhaps the greatest thing we can do in her memory is to allow this same loving God to guide us into being more than we perhaps imagine we are capable of being!
Our Queen has left us a shining example of what, through God’s help, we too are called to be: people who know God’s strength and love in our lives and who will work together with others to bring kindness, caring and hope into our own little corners of this world
courtesy of St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine
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