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The impact of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and of her leadership example, will be very long lasting, because she became one of the most trusted and respected figureheads on the world stage, as well as in her own nation. Her life was rooted in a deep sense of public duty, and a commitment to a life of public service, which was forced upon her by circumstance.

Hundreds of millions of words have already been written recently about her life, but the most powerful perhaps were spoken....

Without implying any view on Boris Johnson as a politician, his tribute in Parliament in my view captured the public mood and explained why the outpouring of national grief has been so great, why Queen Elizabeth's influence will be so enduring.

This is our country's saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss - far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.

In these first grim moments since the news, & know that millions and millions of people have been pausing whatever they have been doing, to think about Queen Elizabeth, about the bright and shining light that has finally gone out.


She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that 1 am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on.


Wave after wave of grief is rolling across the world, from Balmoral - where our thoughts are with all the Royal Family - and breaking far beyond this country and throughout that great Commonwealth of nations that she so cherished and which cherished her in return.


As is so natural with human beings, it is only when we face the reality of our loss that we truly understand what has gone. It is only really now that we grasp how much she meant for us, how much she did for us, how much she loved us.


As we think of the void she leaves, we understand the vital role she played, selflessly and calmly embodying the continuity and unity of our country.


We think of her deep wisdom, and historic understanding, and her seemingly inexhaustible but understated sense of duty.


Relentless though her diary must have felt, she never once let it show, and to tens of thousands of events - great and small - she brought her smile and her warmth and her gentle humour - and for an unrivalled 70 years she spread that magic around her Kingdom.


This is our country's saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy.


That is why we loved her. That is why we grieve for Elizabeth the Great, the longest serving and in many ways the finest monarch in our history.


It was one of her best achievements that she not only modernised the constitutional monarchy, but produced an heir to her throne who will amply do justice to her legacy, and whose own sense of duty is in the best traditions of his mother and his country.


Though our voices may still be choked with sadness we can say with confidence the words not heard in this country for more than seven decades.


God Save The King.

Another tribute that focussed on her faith, and her enduring Christian vision for the future of humanity, was that of the Archbishop of Canterbbury in his sermon during the funeral for Queen Elizabeth, also quoted in full.

The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death.

The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory. Her Late Majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the Nation and Commonwealth.

Rarely has such a promise been so well kept! Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.

Jesus – who in our reading does not tell his disciples how to follow, but who to follow – said: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Her Late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed.

I know His Majesty shares the same faith and hope in Jesus Christ as his mother; the same sense of service and duty.

In 1953 the Queen began her Coronation with silent prayer, just there at the High Altar. Her allegiance to God was given before any person gave allegiance to her. Her service to so many people in this nation, the Commonwealth and the world, had its foundation in her following Christ – God himself – who said that he “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

People of loving service are rare in any walk of life.

Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.

The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth and the world – arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us.

She was joyful, present to so many, touching a multitude of lives. We pray especially for all her family, grieving as every family at a funeral - including so many families round the world who have themselves lost someone recently - but in this family’s case doing so in the brightest spotlight.

May God heal their sorrow, may the gap left in their lives be marked with memories of joy and life. Her Late Majesty’s broadcast during Covid lockdown ended with: “We will meet again”, words of hope from a song of Vera Lynn. Christian hope means certain expectation of something not yet seen.

Christ rose from the dead and offers life to all, abundant life now and life with God in eternity. As the Christmas carol says “where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”

We will all face the merciful judgement of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership.

Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: “We will meet again.”


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