It is a while since I’ve written, but following the death of the incredible woman who has been such a role model, I felt compelled to put my thoughts down.
The Oath of Allegiance
I, Lynn Boyle do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law:
So help me God.
This was the oath I, like every other ordained minister in the Church of England, swore as part of my Ordination over 15 years ago. I then signed in front of The Lord Bishop of Chester my fellow ordinands and a Lawyer. It was the most solemn occasion, carried out according to the Law and Canons of the Church of England. That allegiance now passes to King Charles III.
Like so many people, the death of our Queen has been something we knew, but never believed would happen; she seemed immortal. I am still in awe of the fact that she was still working up to forty eight hours before her death. That is duty and service which I find totally humbling.
When the young Princess Elizabeth made her promise of service no matter who long or short her life, on her 21st birthday, she could never have imagined that the ‘long’ she referred to would be until beyond her 96th birthday. At that time the prospect of becoming Queen must have also seemed something for the distant future. Instead, it became her sad reality at just 25 years old. At this tender age, this young woman was thrust into a world whose leaders were strong and forceful men. She had no choice but to become a strong, independent woman, but she did so with such humility.
The Queen knew her scripture, she was a devout Christian and one passage she tried to aspire to since being a girl is the so called ‘Golden Rule’ from Matthew Chapter 7 verse 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
This ‘Golden Rule’ guides people to choose for others what they would choose for themselves.
It requires us to put ourself in someone else’s shoes before we speak or do anything – and it is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the mount – a blueprint for living – for humble, thoughtful and compassionate living.
It is not the only reading that resonates with our Queen; in her Christmas broadcast in 2016 she referred to the story of the Good Samaritan and spoke of the value of doing small things with great love. The Samaritan just did what was needed, he demonstrated love and compassion for a stranger when others didn’t want to get involved.
The Biblical account of the Good Samaritan reminds us that we shouldn’t always want to be rewarded for what we do, we should do whatever is needed to help somebody else and do it with love, however small it might seem to be. When we turn our back, or say ‘no’ to a request, we may not think too much of it, but it can be devastating to someone on the other end – to their physical wellbeing, but even more so to their mental wellbeing. It really does leave us with food for thought.
The fact is, that our Queen has, throughout the 70 years of her reign been a role model of respect, kindness and compassion and love for us all. This was the role model I swore my allegiance to in 2007.
Of course there was a sense of duty for this young girl. Duty is something which we feel morally or legally obliged to undertake. Service is beyond this; it what drives us and urges us on when we are at our lowest, weakest, bleakest or maybe most afraid. We witnessed a lifetime of service in our Queen – she took only two days away from her ‘duty’, her work, each year: Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. I have been humbled to witness it continue in her grieving family over the past 10 days.
And as I’ve done so, I’ve found myself searching my own soul and asking these questions over the past 10 days:
Who am I in this world?
What am I doing with the gift of life I’ve been given?
How am I using my God given strength?
What am I doing to make someone else’s life in this world better?
Do I always treat others as I would want to be treated?
If not, why not?
Am I humble enough?
Our life is a wonderful gift, the lives of every person around us is a wonderful gift; a gift we should never take for granted.
Our Queen and the service she has offered has been a wonderful gift to the majority of us all over the entirety of our lifetimes.
This week we say farewell to a most amazing lady, whatever your views on monarchy, an incredible role model for men and women alike.
I believe she has known for some time that her lifetime’s gift, one we’ve taken for granted for years, was drawing to its close and now it is difficult to imagine the life of this country without her calm, wise and steadying influence.
And as she aged, in my eyes she was still an incredibly beautiful woman, even at 96. This, I believe is because her beauty radiated from within.
In honour of her and of a God who is the love that lives within our hearts maybe we can recommit ourselves to be strong, but all the while stay humble & remain beautiful, treating others as we would like to be treated. What a difference that could make in this broken world.
Our new King has so much to live up to and he will need all of God’s graces in order to follow the example set by his mother. But with faith, I believe he will find that strength. He needs all our prayers and support for the task ahead of him. God Bless our King.