I suspect there are lots of things you would like to be able to do brilliantly – maybe painting pictures, playing a sport, singing, or … Having great skills can sometimes impress other people; we are a society with so many icons. But the qualities that make a lasting difference for people are surely things like kindness, respect, and faithfulness.
Whether someone is a monarchist or a republican it is difficult, as we look over 70 years of the Queen’s time as head of state, not to note the qualities of service and faithfulness she espouses.
The year 6 children from Ilchester Primary produced an amazing re-enactment of the Coronation of the Queen at the end of their half term. In the real ceremony, amongst all the pomp, the bending of the knee in pledging fealty to the crown, the shouts of ‘God save the Queen’, what stands out is maybe the moment the monarch is anointed with oil.
During the service the Archbishop uses a small spoon to drip some oil onto the hands, the forehead and the chest of the new King or Queen. As they do so, they use words which both seek to bless and also challenge the monarch about the life they are to lead after they are crowned.
They are called to be whole hearted and compassionate, to be serving the people, and to give their complete intellect to the task set before them. The new monarch is then charged with giving their life, heart, mind and strength, in faithful service to the people of the nation and Commonwealth. This Queen Elizabeth II has achieved and she is an inspiration to many; not a perfect one for she is human like us all.
The Queen does not shy from saying her inspiration is drawn from the faithfulness and service she sees in Jesus Christ; another who gave heart, mind and strength, every last drop of their blood in seeking to be faithful to a calling to love the world.
We would do well to look to the many good qualities the Queen presents to us as, well, as an icon of faithfulness and service. But as we look to her, we would do even better to look to the one she seeks to emulate, to follow, to bow the knee before, herself; to Jesus Christ!