The Sunday Club have this term been looking at some specific figures and thinking about how they served God, and how their faith in Jesus inspired them to do what they did. People like Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Mary Seacole. Our Queen is someone else whose faith in Jesus shows them how to live.
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. These words of Jesus that are often used as a reference point for how to live. You can read more of the passage here.
When Elizabeth became Queen more than 60 years ago she promised to serve her people. In fact, on her 21st birthday, still Princess Elizabeth, she said this in a special broadcast from South Africa.
I declare before all of you that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
She has served her people for more than 60 years. But every year in her Christmas message she reveals that she also serves someone else – Jesus Christ. She bows her head to receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus just as those of us who meet at St Mary’s do and she kneels at the altar at communion just as we do.
Do you ever watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day? It is one of the few places where the Queen can be explicit about her Christian faith and how it informs and motivates her. In 2002 she said this:
I know just 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 try and do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings and to put my trust in God.
In her Christmas messages she often talks about Jesus. Jesus who she says is a great comfort, a profound teacher, the Prince of Peace and a Saviour with the power to forgive.
Six months before her coronation, Elizabeth asked the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth to do this:
Pray that God may give me the strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve him and you, all the days of my life.
Clearly the Queen has relied on Jesus since before she became Queen: as her role model, as a source of inspiration, as the way to forgiveness and being closer to God.
I wonder who you rely on to be the person you want to be?
The Queen made promises to serve God and serve her people when she became Queen. Many of us have made promises about our lives. If you have been baptised and then confirmed, or if you were baptised as a young person or adult you will also have made promises about how you live. They will have been something like this –
- Live in the way that Jesus and the apostles teach
- Gather with others in church to learn together and pray
- Stand against evil and wrongdoing, and ask forgiveness for yourself
- Proclaim in what you say and do the significance of Jesus
- Serve all people, loving your neighbour as yourself
- Seek peace and justice
With the help of God I will
If you were baptised as a baby and were not confirmed when you were older you may not yet have made those promises formally for yourself, or if you have not been baptised at all, it is not too late, get in touch if you’d like to think about it.
Take a few moments now to think about the promises that you have made about how you will live or that you might like to make. Think about who you rely on to help you keep those promises.
In church we invited people to dip a finger in the water in the font and make the sign of the cross on their forehead as they reflect on their baptism or confirmation promises. At home, you could do that too with a little water in a glass.
“With the help of God I will”