This is now my second blog about The Queen. I suppose that her life and death have had a greater impact on me than I was aware. I also suppose I am not the only person to feel this way. Millions from around the world watched.
I have been reflecting on the funeral, as well as a conversation I heard in a coffee shop. First, regarding the funeral. Her Majesty scripted her own funeral. It becomes apparent she wanted Christ to be proclaimed. Scriptures were read, concentrating on those that gave hope in Christ. The songs that were sung reflected the gospel. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury very clearly proclaimed Christ, even going so far as to call for his listeners to receive Christ.
But also important was the power of symbols, for the symbolism was filled with the Christian worldview. It was taken up in three important symbols, each one on top of The Queen’s coffin. Each reflected the Christian worldview of life and death. The first was her crown. The second was an orb, or a globe with a cross mounted on top of it. This symbolized her role as a defender of the faith, and that the Jesus she worshipped ruled all the earth. The third symbol was a stick. This stick belonged to the Lord Chamberlain, her chief of staff, who organized her affairs according to the authority that she gave him. His authority was not in him, but was derived from her.
At one time during the funeral, the crown was removed from the coffin. It was no longer hers. For she wore it only as long as Christ permitted her to do so. Upon death, she was no longer The Queen, but would now take her place among the faithful before a greater throne. Then, the orb with the cross was also removed. She was no longer the defender of the faith. And then the stick, belonging to the Lord Chamberlain, was broken. Queen Elizabeth no longer could invest authority in anyone. All was stripped at her death. The Bible says that naked we came into this world and naked we shall depart. The Queen now stands before God, with no earthly authority that would speak a word on her behalf. The only one left to speak, is the one who died for her.
I have been musing on the profound biblical significance of these acts. But my second reason for musing was in relation to a conversation I overheard. I couldn’t help but overhear it. I was working, as I often do, in a favourite coffee shop. As I did, two women were speaking quite loudly at the table next to me. One remarked at how moving the symbolism of the funeral had been for her. I wondered. Were they thinking about the overt Biblicism of all that had occurred? Alas, they were not!
The same woman said, “It made me think we should make up our own symbolism to suit both our lives and our deaths!” The other woman readily agreed. Clearly, they both did not understand that the symbolism was not made up at all. It arose, not out of human imagination, but out of a response to divine revelation. For my part, I was stunned that these two seemingly intelligent women did not have even the slightest understanding that this is what they had witnessed. Instead, all their secular categories allowed them to watch that, and understand none of it. They saw meaning, but that only inspired them to invent their own meaning.
I have been musing about that ever since. We live in a world that is lacking meaningful symbols. The secular culture has no lasting or profound symbols because they have no reference point for any symbols. As much as people need and long for something that has meaning and purpose, these things will always be lacking, as long as there is no concept of the divine.
Proverbs 9:10 says that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It is. It is also the beginning of meaning and purpose. It is the beginning of meaningful ceremony. Without the fear of the Lord, nations lose direction. Without the fear of the Lord, life lacks certainty. Without the fear of the Lord, death lacks hope. The Queen’s funeral reminded me of that.