By Canon Cate Edmonds
I think we were all moved by the state funeral of our late Queen Elizabeth II, and by the service of committal at St George’s Chapel. The most poignant of moments for me, and there were many I could recall, must have been the removal from her coffin of her insignia of office, her instruments of state. I saw this recorded as the Queen being separated from her crown jewels. A rather crass comment as Her Majesty was released not separated from her duties, Kingly power and justice, the Septre, power of God over the world, the Orb. Finally the Imperial State Crown which the Archbishop of Canterbury placed on her head at her Coronation with the words “May she be filled with abundant grace and princely virtues.” We can truly say that Her Majesty in her 70 long year reign lived up to those words.
All the ceremonies were conducted with great solemnity and dignity, befitting of such a monarch. But what has struck me though all of this time of mourning is the emphasis on the late Queen’s faith and in those Instruments of State the symbol of the cross, the symbol of life in Christ is so clearly evident. A symbol of hope as the Archbishop noted at the end of his address; “service in life, hope in death.” Through the cross we have hope, through the death and resurrection of Christ we have hope for the future.
Another image has stayed with me too, the image of the Queen’s beloved dogs and pony. One of the corgis in the image I saw was looking ahead, ears pricked up, looking into the future. Sad though this image might be, as no doubt the dogs were looking for their loyal mistress, that image of looking into the future is one we must hold onto. We are entering a new era, with a new government and now a new King. Many of us have never experienced life with a King, so we have no idea what to expect. There are indications. We know that King Charles has a great, love of the environment, God’s creation. We are heartened that he wishes to be a defender of the faith, our Anglican faith but also respecting the rights of others to have their faith defended.
With still much talk about the late Queen’s strong faith, which has supported and strengthened her throughout her reign and of King Charles’ statement about his faith as well, will there actually be a renewed interest in faith? Will the words of Archbishop Justin, “hope in death”, inspire others to look to the cross and see the true symbol of hope? I pray that they might.
One thing is for sure as we pass into this new era that the love of God will surround our new monarch as it did his mother and that through the cross we will all be able to weather the storms of life with hope.
After all the sadness of the last couple of weeks, the flags are now raised and so is the cross to lead us into the new era guided by the light of Christ.