This is a copy of an article I wrote for the Billericay Gazette on Wednesday 25 May 2022.
We will soon be celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It’s an amazing achievement and one that is unprecedented in the history of the British Monarchy. Many events will be taking place to mark this event, including the ‘Trooping of the Colour’ the ‘Jubilee Pageant’ a Service of Thanksgiving at Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the lighting of 1500 Beacons across the United Kingdom on the evening on Thursday 2 June – including the lighting of the Beacon at Sun Corner in Billericay from 8.45 – 9.45 pm. Billericay Citizens of the Year, Ken and Eleanor Tout (and members of Emmanuel) will be lighting the Beacon – I’ve been given 3 minutes to say a few words!
There will also be Bell Ringing, Festivals, Exhibitions, Music Concerts and Neighbourhoods sharing in a Big Jubilee Lunch (don’t forget to make your Jubilee Pudding) and many more events across our Town, Nation, and Commonwealth.
There will be a special Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Faith and Service at Emmanuel Church on Sunday 5 June at 10.30 am, the final day of the Jubilee celebrations (as well as services taking place in other churches in Billericay) followed by a church family picnic.
A hymn’ Rise Up And Serve’ has been commissioned for the Platinum Jubilee, featuring the Commonwealth Choir & Friends, and it is well worth viewing here:
Her Majesty the Queen has been a wonderful example of service above self during her reign. She gives us, in a world of ever-increasing change, a sense of familiarity and stability. It goes without saying that her Christian faith has been instrumental to her life of service. In 1947, at the tender age of twenty-one, she said in a radio broadcast to the nation:
I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial (Commonwealth) family to which we all belong. But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.
Our Queen has kept that promise faithfully, whether it be her daily watch on the affairs of state; her meetings with Prime Ministers, Presidents and Heads of States, where she has been consulted and offered advice, along with attending many thousands of functions with her habitual grace and charm. One marvels to think of all the handshakes she has given, the speeches she has listened to, the smiles she has shared and the times she must have had to hold her tongue. Political commentator Andrew Marr points out:
There are no reliable recorded incidents of the Queen losing her temper, using bad language, or refusing to carry out a duty expected of her.
The Queen has demonstrated unswerving service, duty, and perseverance throughout her life, and she has based this on her deep and committed Christian faith. As the Supreme Governor of the Church of England she prays daily and before her recent mobility issues (quite understandable at 96 years of age) attended church weekly. This prayer has been issued for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations (why not pray this over the Jubilee weekend?):
Gracious God, we give you thanks for the reign of your servant Elizabeth our Queen, and for the example of loving and faithful service which she has shown among us. Help us to follow her example of dedication and to commit our lives to you and to one another, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we have a great Queen, but her greatness comes from the fact that she has trusted in an even greater King.
Happy Platinum Jubilee, Ma’am! God save the Queen!