We are here because it is our Queen’s diamond jubilee – she has been Queen for 60 years.
A friend of mine was wondering lately – what must it be like to be the Queen? To know that whenever you go into a room you’re going to be the most important person there? To know that when you’re at one of those great big posh banquets you are going to be in the most important place. To know that when everyone stands us and sing ‘God save the Queen’ you have to sit there and try not to look too smug.
But it seems that although she is Queen and the most important person in the country, our Queen is not big-headed and pushy but is actually very sure that what she is doing is serving other people. That doesn’t mean that she will say to one of her footmen – ‘you look tired – why don’t you sit on the throne and I’ll go and pour the tea’ (or whatever it is that footmen do). It means that whatever she does as Queen who remembers that she’s serving the country – trying to make people feel better, if she’s visitied them in hospital; trying to use visits to foreign countries to encourage people to buy British goods; trying to make sure that the government of our country works as smoothly as it can.
That’s the sort of leadership that Jesus was talking about in our reading from Luke’s gospel – loving other people, serving them, not just throwing your weight around.
And I think one of the things that helps our Queen to be a great Queen is her faith in God. When she was crowned Queen she had to promise
‘to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?’
and ‘to the utmost of her power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel’.
And then she had to go to the altar, lay her right hand upon the Holy Gospel in the great Bible and say
‘The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.’
Then the Queen kissed the Bible and signed the Oath.
Our Queen has said that she goes to church not because she has to, but because she believes that going to church and worshipping God helps her to do all the other things she has to do.
In Jesus, God showed us what loving and serving other people looks like. So today we ask God to help the Queen to continue to love and serve other people.
May God bless her – and each one of us.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.