Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

On 6th February this year our Queen will have been our monarch for an amazing sixty-eight years.

Many of us will have seen the old black and white footage of her arrival back in Britain from a trip to Africa where Prince Philip had the arduous task of breaking the news to her that her beloved father, King George VI had died.

Although, in some small ways, preparations had been made for the day when she would accede to the throne, and given the pledge of commitment she famously made on her twenty-first birthday that her whole life, ‘whether it be short or long’ would be devoted to the service of her country, not even she might have imagined the length and extent of that service.

Down the years Queen Elizabeth has continued to grow in wisdom, integrity and devotion to duty. Whether royalist or republican in leaning, no one can deny the quality and degree of her service. Only last week one royal commentator declared that, in his estimation, she had never put a foot wrong. That, in the eyes of some, may seem an exaggeration as opponents immediately took the opportunity to recall the famous speech she made in the London Guildhall in 1992 when she referred to her ‘annus horribilus’.

Be that as it may, we cannot but have the greatest of respect for (as the Book of Common Prayer has it) ‘our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth’.

And, whatever the degree of her service might be, we know that it is all underpinned by her firmly held Christian faith. in her annual Christmas message the Queen almost invariably take the opportunity to declare how she continues to be strengthened and inspired by God sending his son into the world for all people.

In these recent weeks and months, when a further ‘annus horribilus’ seemed to be fast approaching, our Queen has once again demonstrated her faith-based wisdom and perception.

Perhaps all of us might hope and pray to be sustained by the good news of the Gospel – God’s gracious love and mercy for us all; that ‘Enduring Melody’ which the late Bishop Michael Mayne writes in his life-changing book with that title. In it he talks of the critical truths and experiences that seized and shaped his life; those aspects of faith that speak to him of what is authentic and to which he can return, touching base, as it were, at every stage of his journey through life.

As our Queen enters her sixty-ninth year of service may we be inspired by her constancy and by our common faith in him who is our great Sustainer in life.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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