Joshua 1: 1-9
Luke 22: 24-30
In life there are some constants; we live in Britain and therefore we have weather. We have lots of weather and it will always give us something to talk about – wet, or cold, or hot, or dry, or thundery, or frosty, or misty or plain dreich: whatever, the weather is our conversation saverWe have other constants too: our unending hope that we will one day win a major international football game; the hope that this is the year that Andy Murray will win Wimbledon; and I’m sure many other sporting hopes too – some even realised!
There is something else that has been a constant in my life: our monarch.
Now, I know that some of you will remember George VI being on the throne, and his brother, and his father before him.
But for me, and my generation, and everyone born since 1952 there has only been one Monarch – we are Elizabethans – for us the crown of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth has always been worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Today is the day we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Queen’s reign. Sixty years doing anything is always something to be applauded and honoured.
Sixty years of constancy: we celebrate Diamond Anniversaries because they are a remarkable achievement
In a society where it can seem that life itself has become disposable we are amazed and awed that any relationship can last for so long. And being a faithful monarch is all about the Queen’s relationship with her people.
Our bible readings today reflect what is needed to sustain such constancy: for Joshua as he took over the leadership from Moses; for the disciples as Jesus tried to make them understand that none of them was any better than the other; in each case certain attributes were emphasised as being the most important; these attributes are possibly seen as old fashioned today: loyalty, respect, humility, obedience, and faith.
Above all else: faith.
You may remember the Queen’s Christmas address last December? In it she wore her faith on her sleeve: she is under no illusion: it is her faith that has kept her strong over the decades. Her faith that has enabled her to get through national and personal crises; her faith that has enabled her to carry on in spite of great personal tragedy and loss and disappointment
She understands, she remembers and she believes in that promise given to Joshua as he took over the mantle of leadership from Moses: “Do not be afraid or discouraged for I, the Lord your God am with you wherever you go” and she too understands what Jesus meant when he told his disciples to stop arguing about who is greater or better than the other: for it doesn’t matter: “This is not the way it is with you; rather, the greatest among you must be like the youngest, and the leader like a servant.”
The young Princess Elizabeth promised to serve her country faithfully; she promised it again when she became Queen; and she reaffirmed that promise again this year.
She, who at 87 could be justified in taking a back seat; in easing back a little, continues to serve her people, to remain faithful to God and to fulfil her duties with enthusiasm and professionalism
There are some people who think the Monarch is a waste of money; but for me, our Queen is our greatest ambassador; she is a shining example of a woman of faith.
And I am proud to be an Elizabethan