Today is one of those memorable days in history that we will never forget. We were all saddened to hear of the passing of our beloved Queen Elizabeth ll, and the last few days have been days of mourning, reflection and thanksgiving for her 70 years of service to our nation and the Commonwealth. Her faith has shone through her life and we are now hearing personal stories of how peoplehave touched by her.
So many people have felt that they should pay their respects by travelling to London to join the queue to view her lying in state in the Hall of Westminster. The Queen’s passing has triggered memories of relatives and friends who we have died in the past. Particularly, we think of those who were lost during covid and to whom we have been unable to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’, in an appropriate way. All kinds of varied emotions have been triggered – grief gratitude, love and respect. The Queen reminded me of my mum in appearance, and was of a similar age, and shared the same values, so I have been reminded of her many times in recent days.
For those of us who have not been to pay our respects, we have perhaps sought quiet places to reflect. On Saturday we went for a walk in the grounds of Dunham Massey owned by the National Trust. Many others had had the same idea and as we saw the Union Jack at half-mast fluttering in the breeze over the house, we were reminded of the rainbows that appeared simultaneously over Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace on the afternoon of the Queen’s death. The rainbow has a special significance, for in the book of Genesis we read:
‘Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind’ – Genesis 9:14-15
I am reminded, too, of a verse in the hymn – ‘O Love that will not let me go’
‘O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee:
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.’ StF 636 , George Matheson
Perhaps the rainbow was a sign that God was saying ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’?
As we watch the state funeral of our Queen and give thanks for her life, we pray for King Charles lll, that he will follow her example, living a life of faith, love and service.