Don’t ‘go it alone’!
THIS MONTH is a special one, marking a first for our nation: an extra bank holiday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Seventy years of service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth is a remarkable milestone and well worth celebrating.
In fact, officially the seventy-year anniversary fell on 6 February 2022 but, for all the activities that will take place to commemorate this achievement, June should provide better weather (God willing). The events spanning 2-5 June include: Trooping the Colour, Beacons to be lit across the UK and the Commonwealth, a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, and a Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace together with a Big Lunch to be held in streets and parks all over the UK.
For Caversham and Reading, the Churches Together have planned a Jubilee Picnic (Big Lunch) on Christchurch Meadows. Bring your own picnic, chairs, and blankets from 12 noon on Sunday 5 June. At 2.30pm there will be a service accompanied by the Salvation Army Band. Everyone is invited.
It seems poignant that we celebrate our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with worship. Among her many roles is that of ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. What is also of great substance in her life is her Christian faith which is shown in the way she lives and her words so eloquently expressed each Christmas in the Queen’s Speech.
What I am really taken with is her call to prayer at her first Queen’s speech in 1952. “Pray for me … that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
We are blessed as a nation to have a Queen with strong convictions about faith and such a sense of calling to her
vocation as monarch. At her coronation in 1953, wearing a white dress with no jewels or crown, she was anointed with oil by the Archbishop, who prayed inviting the Holy Spirit of God to set her apart as a servant.
The Christian life can be a challenging calling for many of us, but God doesn’t want or expect us to ‘go it alone’! Clearly as a Christian and monarch, Queen Elizabeth had no intention of doing so, and neither should we! This is especially so in our lives and our Queen’s when we are challenged by days when things don’t go our way, when we face sorrow, bereavement, loneliness or other such struggles. At such times it is always refreshing to hear the reflections of the shepherd boy, David, and became king of Israel and declared “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”.
It is in this confidence that back in 2008 Queen Elizabeth said: “I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who, often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life … He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served.”
So why not join us in celebrating at the Big Lunch on 5 June? I am praying we all enjoy beautiful weather and that everyone gets the opportunity to say thank you to God for Queen Elizabeth who said: “…the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.” My prayer for you is that you also would find the same sense of calling.
Rev’d Colin Baker – Caversham Baptist Church
Don’t ‘go it alone’!