Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
I doubt there would be many people surprised by the impact the news that Queen Elizabeth II has had in countries all around the world, our own country, our local communities, even in our own lives. I found that I was more tearful than I expected anticipating the news on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday morning I led Collective Worship at St Luke's School realising that everyone in that hall had only known Queen Elizabeth II as the country's monarch and that between us only a handful had seen the Queen in person. I once saw the Queen at a distance when I was 12 years old opening a new building at the University of Birmingham - I wonder if anyone knows the number of buildings the Queen opened in her life time? Even fewer have met the Queen for a few brief moments.
Despite this, there is a sense that the Queen shared her life with us. Her appearance on coins, bank notes, and stamps. Marking major moments whether it was presenting the 1966 World Cup or appointing her 15th Prime Minister. We joined in her celebrations and her losses, looked on when times were tough, and many of us invited her in each Christmas, tuning into her Christmas speech hearing of her saviour, guiding light, and source of strength and courage.
There is not going to be a shortage of words written about Queen Elizabeth II but as I look at my desk there is a book with a title that will struggle to be bettered, the only book the Queen ever wrote a forward to,
The Servant Queen and the King she serves
To help mark this moment we have put together some prayers and Bible readings you might like to use.
St Luke's Church will also be open on Saturday 10th September 9am-4pm where there is space to sit quietly and pray and also a book of condolence you can sign and candles you can light.
On Sunday 11th September we are putting our Cornerstone Church Plant Commissioning Service back two weeks and gathering at 10:45am at St Luke's for a service of reflection and thanksgiving for the Servant Queen and the King she served.