I have been thinking a lot about our Queen this morning. It is her 95th birthday today and I imagine she does not feel much like celebrating. I was struck again this morning by how utterly alone she must feel having lost her husband; the person that she confided in and who knew her best. In this moment, I suspect she is more human to us that ever. It's very rare that I can relate to royalty on a personal level; their experiences and story is so removed from my own. Yet I suspect that most of us have experienced that feeling of grief or loneliness at some point in our lives. I certainly can say that that is true of me.
One of the most notable things for me about our Queen's her strong faith. While she has inherited the title "Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England" her faith is not just another duty associated to her role but she has a very real and genuine faith. You only have to listen to her speak about faith to realise that. She has often spoken of the importance of her faith and how it has sustained her over the years and many of us can testify to the same.
However, it is not the ritual, or tradition that sustains us (although we may find that comforting at times). Ultimately, it is a real and living relationship with God through Christ that makes the difference. He is the one in whom and for whom we live, breath and exist. He is the one who brings us comfort and peace and it is in him that we have hope in the resurrection; the enduring belief that death does not have the final word.
So today I pray for our Queen, and for all of us, that we would know God with us and that we would rest in the knowledge of his enduring love, his faithfulness to us and his promise of eternal life.