For the past four days, people around the world, especially the people of Great Britain, have been celebrating the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign as the Sovereign of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and a number of other countries and territories around the world. It was when she was on a trip with Prince Philip in 1952 that she first received news that her father, the king, had died. Her life would be forever changed from this moment on.
It was by chance that Elizabeth would ascend the throne. If her uncle, Kind Edward, hadn’t abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, then Elizabeth’s father, the future King George, would never have become king. In a way, he was an accidental king – never really destined for the role and certainly not raised in such a way that he was prepared for the absolutely incredible responsibility that was squarely placed on his shoulders.
However, King George’s untimely death paved the way for Elizabeth to inherit the position of Queen – a role that, like her father, she was ill prepared for. That wasn’t the only thing that had to fall into place in Elizabeth’s life. Earlier her betrothed, Philip, was a royal in his own right – of Greek heritage – and Philip had to renounce his titles and position to marry Elizabeth. In fact, she was not only his wife, but also became his queen.
For the next 70+ years that they were married, he walked several steps behind her at all public events and he swore allegiance to her as the monarch. Make no mistake – it has been said that they had a true love affair. She has professed her love for him on many occasions – and likewise, he was devoted to her. Philip was also the main one responsible for the televising of the coronation. Churchill and others were vehemently against such an event being broadcast across the land. In fact, 24 million viewers watched in rapt attention to the coronation. Incidentally, the coronation didn’t happen for some time after Elizabeth ascended the throne. According to tradition, the coronation has to do with the service to God and recognition of Elizabeth as the sovereign, taking place more than a year after she took over the duties as Queen.
Now, Queen Elizabeth has served on the throne longer than any monarch in history. This was the first time there has been a Platinum Jubilee. Another queen of long reign was Victoria, who served the people of Great Britain for more than 63 years. Think about all that Queen Elizabeth has seen. She has reigned during 14 American presidencies, four popes and 14 British Prime Ministers. In all, more than 170 individuals have served in the capacity of Prime Minister throughout the entire British empire during the 70 years she has been the Sovereign.
She has seen the advent of television, touch tone phones, computers, the space race, man on the moon, telescopes that reach across the heavens and incredible advances in medical treatments and drugs. She has dedicated herself to the service of British citizens and has even put that responsibility ahead of her family. She has lost parents, a sister, lived through the death of Diana and watched several of her family members make poor life decisions all during her time on the throne.
So here we are – this weekend celebrating this incredible human being, adored by her subjects, as she undoubtedly nears the end of her reign – the longest reign in history. By now, you probably can guess where I am going with this.
As much as Elizabeth has had an unparalleled life by human standards, it is but a moment in time compared to the eternal reign of Christ on the throne in heaven. While the number 70 is thought by some to have biblical significance, it is a blip on the screen of time. Remember, Christ has always been, will always be and is with us every second of every day. In union with the Holy Spirit and God the Father, they are the Trinity. Distinctly separate, with their own attributes, yet all part of the one and only Godhead.
The grandeur of all this is too much for our feeble human minds to understand but for those of us who profess a belief in Jesus, His reign will go on for the ages – throughout all eternity. Think of all the things that Christ and the rest of the Godhead have seen throughout the ages. And there is forever in front of us.
Our verse for tonight comes from the poetic book of the Psalms. The psalmist recounted the words of God the Father to His Son, when he informs us, in Psalm 89:27-29, “I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to enjoy His kingdom now and forever more. My prayer is that we will all do our parts to serve the Supreme Leader of all time – our King who sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father. Because God loves His subjects far more than Queen Elizabeth in her humanness could ever love her subjects. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…