Dear PHBC Family,
Millions of us across the world are saddened at the news of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to being a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she reigned as head of state over 54 countries in the commonwealth. Beyond this, she was patron of more than 600 charities and organisations in the 70 years she served as queen, covering a wide range of causes from health, young people, animals and the environment, military and sports. Throughout her life, her evident selflessness and love for people were an inspiration to so many across the world, and the impact of her death will be felt for years to come.
Especially at this time, it is right for us to continue to pray for The Royal Family, because just as with any family, when the head of the family dies, they enter into a period of vulnerability, as decisions need to be made, choices confirmed and actions taken, that in some cases, will have lasting consequences.
The Queen’s faith, lived out through a lifelong devotion to service, duty, social inclusion and welfare, is a legacy which we can all aspire to, as we reflect on our own Christian journey and our obedience to the call of God.
The image I have used to accompany this writing, shows a woman holding an umbrella as she shelters from the rain. In the wider context of the setting, we understand that this woman was a queen who reigned as Head of State over one-third of the world’s population (2.5 billion people). As arguably the world’s most powerful queen, we know that she was a person of affluence and wealth, a person of influence, a person who wielded authority, was revered, regarded and respected, and absolutely did not have to carry her own umbrella.
In the image, we see the juxtaposition of the person I have just described and a person who is a humble, dedicated servant of the people and child of God. Whilst the subjects sheltered at an elevated level, the queen stood below. Whilst the people had their shoes protected from the rain, she was at risk of having her feet splattered with raindrops. Whilst the people remained effortlessly dry, under the eaves of the roof, she had to hold her own umbrella.
In this image, we see a person who could rightfully have commanded her lady-in-waiting to hold the umbrella, yet did not consider her majesty something to be used for her own advantage.
We see a person who apparently had it all, yet, considered it all nothing without God.
In this time of mourning and reflection for millions of people around the world, I want to highlight the inspiration I have drawn from her earliest speech to the nations of the Commonwealth.
75 yeas ago, at the age of 21, her speech was broadcast across the nations, and it’s words are as powerful today, as they were when she first spoke them. To conclude my writing today, I have included an excerpt of the speech, and then paraphrased that excerpt to reflect my own commitment on my Christian journey.
I pray that as you read both, you will find your own inspiration for who God has called you to be and become, and may your life and legacy always point others to God.
EXCERPT FROM ORIGINAL SPEECH
“If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing – more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence for good in the world – than it has been in the greatest days of our forefathers.
I declare before you all 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.
But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it“.
PARAPHRASE FOLLOWING MY REFLECTION
“If I go forward with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a humble heart, I shall play a part in making the Church, which we all love so dearly, a more wonderful place – more effective, more capable, more joyful and a more powerful influence for God in the world, than it has been in the greatest days of those that have gone before me.
So, I declare that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to loving and serving God and devoted to loving and serving God’s people.
But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do, and I trust that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it“.
With every blessing,
Rev. Deji Ayorinde