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Only Human - Pastor's Pen for 25th September 2022

I watched with interest the funeral of Queen Elizabeth ll yesterday evening. It's funny what you think of as you watch. What happens if one of the horses gets a bit out of control and decides to trot off? They have a mind of their own after all. Spare a thought for the security team. So many world leaders in one building.

Of course you know I am a student of funerals, I appreciate a good one, and this was certainly one to watch. The quality of the music possible in such a building as Westminster Abbey was something to remember. As a minister I can hardly begin to imagine the level of anxiety involved in presiding over such an event broadcast to millions around the world.

Yet there were some very human touches; the Dean of Westminster nearly succumbing to a tickle in his throat at the very beginning of the service, the guy dropping a paper note and watching it flutter down in full view of the TV cameras, King Charles looking tired and sad as any son would. In the midst of royal splendour and ceremony, some very human touches.

The funeral homily from the Archbishop of Canterbury was simple and to the point, and a firm declaration of hope in the Christian gospel, for a Queen whose servant leadership was steeped in that same gospel. I smiled as I remembered my Anglican vicar friend who a couple of years ago took a random 'selfie' with the Archbishop at a conference without realising who he actually was.

I warmly appreciate the seventy years of servant leadership the Queen demonstrated. I'm not ready for the republicanism debate yet. It's too soon. And so many of the presidents in the world (current and recent) don't seem to be up to much. They need to do a lot better. Death reminds us of our shared humanity, that all in the end come before God relying solely on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Death is the great leveler. In life or death we give thanks to God for the hope that we have in Jesus, and the journey we are on together.

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