A life worthy of the Lord

Published 12th September 2022 by Aike Kennett-Brown

You will know the needs of those who come to your Messy Church. We know of Messy Churches who are still meeting over the coming month and providing space to acknowledge the Queen’s death and support those for whom this may provoke their own grief and feelings of loss for loved ones. We encourage you to take advice from your denomination and sending church leadership.
These resources may be helpful.
As the nation mourns the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, I’ve been pondering on the life that she lived and her legacy. 
I never met her in person, but she was a woman that I deeply admired. Firstly, I was nearly named Elizabeth, being born just ahead of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In the end, my parents went for something more unusual, and ‘Elizabeth’ became my middle name and so started a quiet interest in my name’s sake. 
For many of us, Elizabeth II has been a constant in the life of the British people, for my entire lifetime. As politicians and celebrities come and go with the changing tide, it’s remarkable that we’ve had a woman at the helm of our country and the Church of England for 70 years. She was an outstanding diplomat, welcoming foreign dignitaries on behalf of the nation. I don’t know about you, but I’m curious about the conversations she had each week with all those 15 prime ministers. Do you think she had a favourite? We will never know.
Whilst most of us will have never met her in person, she feels familiar as her public life has been broadcast into our homes through our screens, and she features in our everyday objects such as stamps, coins, and banknotes. Her profile is iconic. She is adored by millions, not just in the UK but around the world.
She’s always been there, until now. It’s the end of an era.
Whatever we may think about the institution of the monarchy, Elizabeth was a loyal servant of the people and a Christian witness throughout her reign. She took seriously the task of public life and literally worked until her dying day, to fulfil the vows that she made during her coronation. She also used her Christmas Day speeches to speak of the story of the birth of Christ and other biblical stories, such as the good Samaritan.
In her first Christmas Day radio address to the nation in 1952, the new monarch vowed to be guided by her Christian faith throughout her reign and asked the nation to: 
‘Pray for me… that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve him and you, all the days of my life.’
What struck me about these words is that she asked for the nation’s help through prayer. She was aware that she could not lead the country by her own steam, but her strength for leadership would come from God. This is a good reminder for us all, in our imperfect attempts to lead our Messy Churches, that we need to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit and that every Messy Church team needs the prayers of the faithful.  
I’m reminded of Paul’s letter to the Colossians:
‘…since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.’ Colossians 1:9–12 (NIV).
I believe that Queen Elizabeth II lived a life ‘worthy of the Lord’ and embodied those qualities of endurance and patience. Whilst she will be missed by many, may we be inspired by her life to live a life worthy of the Lord, in the service of others, for as long as we may live.
Aike Kennett-Brown
BRF Messy Church ministry lead

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