Witnessing the death of Queen Elizabeth II has caused us to reflect on her life as well. As the second longest reigning monarch, the way she lived her life offers certain lessons for us. The queen reigned for more than 70 years, she lived her life committed to her role as the monarch of a great commonwealth.
Which brings to mind a scripture that speaks to this, Luke 9:62 Luke 9:62And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×, Christ was addressing His disciples on the matter of discipleship and the commitment that it takes to stay the course. He said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Once we start a job and we start to plow that furrow, as the analogy is here, we can’t look back. Christ says if we do, we’re not fit for His Kingdom where that promise of sitting with Him on His throne is held out and waits for us.
It takes commitment, and I think the queen demonstrated that commitment; through all of her 96 years, and the 70-plus years she was on the throne, she didn’t change course. Her fulfilling her commitment as monarch was not a foregone conclusion, in fact, her uncle (King Edward VIII) was the king for less than a year, but he abdicated his throne. It shocked the empire at the time; he decided that because he wanted to marry a divorcee from America, the woman he loved, he gave up being king. This is how she eventually became the queen (her father reigned after his brother, and she reigned after him), but she had to repair the damage. She had learned from an uncle who quit, who didn’t keep his hand to the plow, that she must keep her hand to the plow, and she must commit to an entire way of life for all of her life. So, she became queen because of her uncle not living up to his commitment.
At her coronation, a deeply religious and civic event, she was anointed under a canopy that hid what was taking place from the view of everyone in Westminster Abbey and all of the cameras that were recording the event. And here’s what was said, that she was anointed with a very specially prepared oil. In that ceremony, the ministers, the archbishops who did this said to her, “Be thy hands anointed with holy oil. Be thy breast anointed with holy oil. Be thy head anointed with holy oil as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.” And they concluded saying, “And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadoc the priest and Nathan the prophet, so be thou anointed, blessed, and consecrated Queen over the peoples, whom the Lord thy God hath given thee to rule and govern...”. That was what was said at her coronation. Presumably, the same will be said at the coronation of her son, Charles. But that was done at a more solemn moment of the coronation under this golden canopy, and she was set apart for a very special role, and she understood that, and she was committed to that. That’s the critical factor.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ today, where you and I stand in this lesson that we can learn, is that we are set aside as a royal priesthood for a special purpose to God, as the scriptures say to proclaim His glory and His way of life.
The British public can spot a phony a long way away. The outpouring of respect, the people, the hundreds of thousands who queued up to view her body in Westminster Hall in London, and also earlier up in Scotland, testify to the respect and the veneration that the people had for Queen Elizabeth II. She wasn’t a phony. They understood that she was committed to them, she served them all her long years.
A disciple sets his hand to the plow, the queen set her hand to the plow. It leaves us a living lesson to consider this moment when we talk about the death of a queen and the passing of an era. In service to God, being a disciple is a lifetime commitment.