On Thursday, 21st April, Her Majesty the Queen will celebrate her 90th birthday. There will be universal praise for the way that she has fulfilled the demands of her many roles and duties as monarch. The Queen’s Christian faith has been at the heart of her motivation and commitment.
In her foreword to Mark Greene’s excellent book The Servant Queen she acknowledges this with these words:
I have been – and remain – very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness.
On 2nd June, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. For her the most significant moment was not the placing of the St Edward’s crown on her head but when she was anointed with holy oil. She has described it as the most solemn and important moment of her entire life, as it spoke of her pledge to do everything under God and in his strength and wisdom.
The word ‘faithfulness’ has about it a sense of secure trust and solid reliability. Time and again the Bible emphasises that God, our Creator and Heavenly Father, is one on whom we can place our faith and trust. It’s certainly my testimony that I have found him completely trustworthy and faithful – when things are going well, but notably when they are not, whatever the situation. My own father, who went through many very challenging times, always kept on his mantelpiece a three-word text carved into wood. It said simply but profoundly He is able.
On Thursday I hand over my Warden’s wand to Geoff Roberts (Yes, I know it sounds a bit fairy-like!) and I’m delighted that that he is going to undertake the role. Several people have asked me for the highlights of the last five years whilst I’ve been a Warden. I have no doubt that it was the time, just after I was appointed when Gavin Collins left (cause and effect?). When we embarked on the vacancy I wrote a letter in the Notice Sheet. In it I reflected that we could rely utterly on God’s faithfulness, but the challenge was for us as a church, including me, to be faithful to him and to look to him for new opportunities and blessings. And that is exactly what happened: there was a real buzz of expectancy, as many people wanted to move forward with the Lord and many stepped up to volunteer to do new things for the first time. It has been an exciting five years, especially seeing God at work amongst us in so many different and new ways. Thank you for giving me the privilege of seeing every aspect of church life at close quarters. I would want to echo these words which the Queen wrote in 2002:
I know how much I rely on my 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…put my trust in God.
We give thanks to God for the faithfulness of the Queen, a faithfulness rooted in a faithful God.
Congratulations, your Majesty!