A few thoughts on the passing of the Queen:
It was not my intention to pen a piece on the passing of the Queen, and that for at least two reasons. One, already millions – if not billions – of words have been shared on her and her death. Two, like most Americans, I never really had a real close eye on all things pertaining to British Royalty.
But since much of the world is talking about her and what happens next, it is worth offering at least a few thoughts here. She of course just died at age 96, and she was the longest reigning monarch in Britain. She sat on the throne for over 70 years. She reigned through 15 British prime ministers, 16 Australian prime ministers and over a dozen US presidents.
Her reign started in 1952 at age 25. She visited Australia 16 times and was a greatly beloved monarch for most Australians, although the push for a Republic was long sought by some, notably folks like Malcolm Turnbull. There is already a renewed push for Australia to become a republic now that the Queen has passed away. They could have at least waited a few weeks until the grieving process subsides.
Elizabeth had an important role to play over the decades. During times of turmoil, crisis and upheaval, to have a figurehead like the Queen who could offer some sense of security, stability and continuity was a comfort to millions. Parliaments and prime ministers would come and go, but her enduring presence for such a long period was a blessing to many in the UK and around the world.
She would often refer to her Christian faith in her annual addresses, and she seemed quite open about Christianity. It does seem that she had a deep personal faith, and that she was a good student of Scripture. She would often quote the Bible and speak about Jesus in a genuine fashion. Of course at the end of the day only God knows for sure just where she was at in terms of her relationship to Christ, but it does seem that she was a real-deal believer.
As the Queen she was of course the titular head of the Church of England and the “Defender of the Faith”. Christians however have had mixed feelings about her. Conservative Christians often complained that she did not do enough to stand against some of the anti-Christian agenda items that arose over the years.
Some British – and non-British – believers were not happy that she seemed weak in areas where she could have been stronger. Although it is not up to the monarch to make laws and enact legislation, some felt that she could have spoken out more on these issues. They say she was not resistant enough to things like homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and the rise of political Islam in the UK and around the world.
Indeed, as some have pointed out, while she travelled to over 100 nations during her reign, it seems she never once made it to Israel. Why that is is a moot point. Again, her role as monarch is different from those in parliament, but there can be real symbolic significance to what a monarch does or does not do.
What is next?
But now that she is gone, the future is even more uncertain. Indeed, the immediate prospects do not look very promising. The heir apparent of course is Prince Charles. That in the eyes of many is a real worry. He has been a hyper greenie, soft on Islam, and basically a woke lefty who will offer little of help to a nation that needs a figurehead with some common sense and commitment to keeping the country strong.
And then we have the wokest couple around, Harry and Meghan. They are of course a major woke worry. Imagine them having anything to do with being the head of state! So between Charles and some of the kids, things are not looking very promising for the once great Great Britain.
As I said, as an American I had not been all that close to what was happening in the UK and the Royal Family. But my Australian wife, who had grown up with the Queen for all her life, speaks for many millions when she said that it feels as though she has just lost an auntie.
Indeed, she seemed like such a very important figure who did provide real stability while the world around her was going to pot. Her sense of dignity and her years of service were something well worth being acknowledged and celebrated. This can not be said of so many other leaders.
Of course as a Christian I have to point out the obvious: kings and queens will come and go. The kingdoms and governments of this world will all pass away but the Kingdom of God endures forever. And we need to be reminded of passages such as Psalm 47:8, “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne”.
And we also need to recall another passage from the psalter: “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28). God sets up rulers and he takes them down. If Charles ends up leading the UK, then we have to believe that God has his purposes in having him there – for good or ill.
But having an earthly sovereign who seems to seek to serve the people and who has a strong Christian faith is becoming a rare commodity these days. Not many can compete with the Queen in this regard. American Christian commentator Al Mohler concluded his piece on her with these words:
Duty fell to her at such an early age, and she carried it so well, for so long, on behalf of so many. Americans sense that the British people are our near relatives and that the British monarch remains a part of our own identity. Few could have predicted, even just a century ago, that Americans would come to love a British monarch. America had respected Queen Victoria and then, to a greater and lesser degree, a succession of kings. But Americans loved Elizabeth from the start. Her death brings an end to an age, not just for the British people, but for us all.
We will not see her equal in our lifetimes. Britain’s grief is surely grounded in that knowledge. But the late queen would be the first to insist that both parts of the sad announcement are true: “The Queen is dead, long live the King.” May God bless the memory of the queen and guide Britain’s new king and his nation. wng.org/opinions/whether-it-be-long-or-short-1662660747
I have written about Queen Elizabeth before. Let me share part of an earlier piece I did on her. In it I discussed how the Royal Family was involved in the nation during WWII, and I quoted from one helpful article on this:
“Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war years at Windsor Castle and, like many other British children, were often apart from their parents. In October 1940, 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth broadcast a message to evacuees on the radio programme Children’s Hour, urging them to have courage.
“At the age of 19, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). After joining, she trained as a driver and mechanic with the rank of Second Subaltern. Five months later she was promoted to Junior Commander, which was the equivalent of Captain. Her younger sister Princess Margaret was a Girl Guide and later joined the Sea Rangers.
“At 6pm on VE Day, 8 May 1945, the King again broadcast to the nation. During the afternoon and evening, the King and Royal Family made eight appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the crowds gathered below. The princesses were allowed to leave the palace and secretly take part in the celebrations.”
The fact that the English monarchs would not abandon their people and flee overseas during a time of great crisis speaks volumes about their character and their love for the English people. They would remain there and live and work in solidarity with them.
And we have another even greater example of this in history. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, left the comforts of heaven to go to be with the people in their time of crisis. He could have stayed at home – and he had every right to do so.
But out of a deep, deep love for those whom he created and sought to redeem, he went to our sin-infested world and suffered on our behalf, eventually dying a cruel death on the cross. Like the Royal Family, he could have remained aloof, in a safe space, and not exposed himself to the dangers and terrors of the people. billmuehlenberg.com/2020/04/06/the-queen-crises-and-christ/
All things considered, I am glad that she was on the throne for these past seven decades. She was such a rock in so many ways in a time of turbulence and upheaval. She has rightly deserved the honour and respect shown to her by so many millions of people the world over. She will be missed.
What now lies ahead however seems to be a real worry. So we need to pray for how things pan out there. That includes praying for Charles and the others. There will certainly be heady days coming.