With sad news of our Queen’s death, we will be joining the nation in remembering her.

Upon hearing the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, I remembered seeing her briefly and unexpectedly when at school. It was lunch time. She was on her way to an engagement in Oxford. Her visit was publicised but not her route, and she drove right by our playing field. When her Rolls Royce was spotted, a great shout went up: ‘It’s the Queen’.  It was rare to get any excitement from the teenagers lounging on the grass! But everyone was up on their feet in a shot. And there she was: unmistakable, brightly dressed, dignified, just over the hedge sat in her limousine!

Like me, many will have similar fond memories of seeing the Queen during her long reign; some may have had the privilege of meeting her on her relentless rounds of public service. Her speeches have been a feature of our Christmas Days.  She has been present at our great national and sporting events. Her words have reassured us during national crises that “better days will return,” as she said in the pandemic.  She is known around the world as “The Queen” but to us in the UK she is “Our Queen.” And, in the words of Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, for many that relationship feels “deeply personal.”

As the nation comes to terms with the death of our Queen and we enter into a time of collective remembrance and mourning, we are therefore likely to see a mixture of emotion.

Affection and Gratitude

Already we have seen a great outpouring of love and appreciation for her.  The Queen is the longest serving monarch in the world.  Heartfelt messages have been sent from all over the globe, even from Vladimir Putin!  Her tireless service of our country and the Common Wealth has been a consistent theme.  It is remarkable that she welcomed our new Prime Minister, her 15th, on the day before she died, at the age of 96.  She showed “duty, stability, wisdom and grace,” as Baroness Scotland said, and she repeatedly expressed her faith in Jesus Christ. This time of national mourning will therefore be a time to give thanks to God for her life and example.

Sadness and Loss

There is a palpable sense of national sadness and loss. “Grief is the price of love”, as Barak Obama recalled the Queen saying.  For many, this sense of sadness comes not just from the death of someone familiar but from a recognition that, with the passing of the Queen, we have lost someone rare.  In public life, figures are often self-serving, lack integrity, and “don’t do God” – to recall Alister Campbell’s unfortunate line. The Queen, on the other hand, sought to put others first, kept her coronation vows, and persistently spoke of the God of Jesus.  During our acts of remembrance, it is therefore fitting that we turn to the God of Jesus Christ whom the Queen described as her “strength.”

Anxiety and Uncertainty

As well as love and loss, some have expressed anxiety that the Queen’s death marks the end of an era. With “the passing of the second Elizabethan age,” our generation faces huge challenges and uncertainties: the energy crisis, national debt, increasing cost of living, and the war in Ukraine.  The Queen provided a constant presence in a changing world.  She opened doors and brought us favour on the world stage.  We know that life and the Monarchy will go on, but what will the future hold for our nation and who will be the ‘rock’ to steady us?  With uncertainty and fears of the future, it is good that our collective concerns will be addressed at memorial services up and down the country with the person and words of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

The King of Kings, whom the Queen served, lives on (Rev 19:16). Long live the King!

Remembrance on Sunday

On Sunday 11th at our 10.30am service at St George’s Church Morden, we will give thanks for the Queen’s life, remember the Royal Family in our prayers, and join together in the National Anthem. We will start a new sermon series on the book of 1 Samuel. Children are welcome and our Sunday groups will be happening. The service will be live streamed online.

A Moment of Reflection

On Sunday 18th at 7.30-8pm we will be joining in with the “national moment of reflection”.  We will have a special time of Prayer and Reflection at St George’s Church on the eve of the Queen’s funeral, ending with a minute’s silence at 8pm.  People may join in with the prayers if they wish or simply sit and listen as we pray for our nation and the new King.

Showing the State Funeral

The Queen’s State Funeral will happen on Monday 19th September at 11am-12pm in Westminster Abbey.  The government has declared Monday a bank holiday. We plan to open St George’s Church from 10am to 5pm and live-stream the service on the big screen.  A book of condolence will be available for people to sign in church. Free refreshments will be served afterwards.

This is a chance for us to remember the Queen as a local community together.  Everyone is most welcome at all of our events, including children. We have a space for young children to play. Please do join us.

Image by Press Association, Copyright